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AJ Green’s Injury Is Another Example Of Why Superstars Hold Out For The Bag

Green's contract extension talks with the Bengals are on hold now that he's out 6 to 8 weeks.

Image Credit: Getty Images

In another example of why NFL stars should get paid as much as they can while they have the leverage to get it, Cincinnati Bengals seven-time All-Pro receiver AJ Green will miss between six and eight weeks with a leg injury that occurred on Saturday at training camp. 

Green suffered what was originally believed to be a sprained ankle when he was carted off the field at Dayton University on Saturday. However, an MRI revealed more damage than originally expected and now Green is scheduled to miss the entire preseason. 

In fact, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Media, Green’s status for Week 1 opener is “in doubt.”

Cincinnati’s Week 1 matchup in Seattle is almost exactly six weeks away, and it’s possible that Green could miss up to a full eight weeks, which would mean the injury lingers into the regular season. 

Green was in line for a substantial extension and his agents had started preliminary negotiations with Bengals brass. Both sides were confident they would get a deal done, especially since Green’s younger wide receiver partner Tyler Boyd got a four-year $43 million extension recently. 

The Bengals had plans for the tandem to help Andy Dalton elevate his game and become one of the league’s best-receiving corps. Now, that plan and the contract negotiations are on hold exemplifying how fast an NFL player can go from lucrative product to bargain-basement business. 

All of the players holding out from Dallas Cowboys back Ezekiel Elliott to Chargers all-purpose stud Melvin Gordon understand that the injury risk in football is at an all-time high. The realities of CTE and other brain injuries have changed the way that players view their NFL careers. 

Elliot leads the NFL with 1003 offensive touches since 2016, so it’s hard for Dallas to say anything negative about his value. He wants to get paid what he’s worth, even as the running back position is supposedly “devalued” in the NFL.

Players have to get the most money they can while they are healthy because inevitably there will be medical expenses and other issues to deal with once their playing careers are over. Players also want to play shorter careers to avoid potential brain injuries and physical ailments in the future, so getting the bag when they are young, healthy and able, is very important.

Earl Thomas held out during the 2018 preseason, hoping for a contract extension or to force a trade before relenting and joining the Seahawks prior to the season opener. He decided to come back without a long-term contract and suffered a season-ending injury in the fourth game.

The middle finger he threw up at the Seahawks as he was carted off the field, expressed his feelings at the moment. Luckily, Thomas was able to secure a 4-year $55 million deal with the Ravens, but every player isn’t so fortunate.

Green’s serious injury has given the Bengals cold feet about committing to him long -term and at this moment, none of the Hall of Fame work he put in for them matters. Don’t feel too sorry for Green, he is coming off a $60 million deal he signed back in 2015, so he has secured the bag once already. 

However, before the Bengals can bless him again, they have to see if he is damaged goods when he returns. Green won’t be seeing that extension for a long time unless the Bengals are totally sure he will return at 100 percent. At this point, there’s no need to rush it. Worst case scenario is, Green never gets the second bag.

That’s why guys hold out and the NFL and fans have to start expecting conflicts between superstar players and their franchises. The players are on a clock and the owners are trying to buy time as the player depreciates in value with every hit. Welcome to the new NFL. 

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