After 10 mostly distinguished seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (I’m counting his missed one in 2019), wide receiver A.J. Green will be a free agent this offseason.
The seven-time Pro Bowler played all 16 games for the Bengals this season, which itself was a win. But struggles to build rapport with Joe Burrow early gave way to bad quarterback play after Burrow went down with a torn ACL. So Green finished with just 47 catches (on 104 targets) for 523 yards and two touchdowns.
If that target volume and dreadful catch rate stand out to you, they should.
Here are your wide receiver air yards leaders from 2020, courtesy of Air Yards.com.
Not only did Green lead the Bengals in air yards, he was eighth among all wide receivers. His average depth of target (14.1 yards) rates highly too after rooting out receivers with small, unmeaningful samples.
Green played on the franchise tag this year, so he’ll hit the market and command far less than that this offseason. But these three Super Bowl contenders should have him on their radar.
3 Super Bowl contenders who should sign A.J. Green
3. Indianapolis Colts
Yes, the Colts will be a Super Bowl contender next season. With a roster that’s ready to win now, and plenty of cap space to find a replacement for Philip Rivers at quarterback, winning the AFC South should be the minimum expectation.
With T.Y. Hilton possibly gone in free agency, the Colts have a significant need at wide receiver as well. Green won’t be the only addition, via free agency or the draft, but he would be a solid addition and Indianapolis would be an appealing spot for him.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Simply put, the Ravens have to open up their playbook a bit and push Lamar Jackson’s development as a passer to a new level. He’ll never satisfy some people in that respect as a pure passer, but Marquise Brown’s run as the team’s best wide receiver has to be over.
It’s easy to point to some bigger name free agents as targets for the Ravens (Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, etc.). But a team with legit Super Bowl aspirations every year needs more than one new weapon, and signing Green on the cheap will be possible.
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers have made back-to-back trips to the NFC Championship Game, only to be overmatched last year and be sabotaged by their head coach late in this year’s game.
Aaron Rodgers invited speculation about his future after the title game loss to the Buccaneers. Never say never, but it’s unlikely he’s traded this offseason. In any case the Packers should be in win-now mode this offseason, and every offseason for as long as Rodgers is the quarterback. Part of that means adding a veteran wide receiver to join Davante Adams.
A big swing for someone on the trade or free agent markets is not the Packers’ mode. So that leaves them likely to be in the market for Green.