With most, if not all, fans hoping the San Francisco 49ers acquire a top-flight wide receiver, Niner Noise details why Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green is the perfect addition.
We all strive for perfection in life, for ourselves and for our favorite football teams, like the San Francisco 49ers. Well, we also never find perfection because there is always something wrong. When analyzing potential wide receiver targets for the Niners, we fall upon the same problem.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown, off-the-field incidents and demeanor turn many fans away. Coupled with the fact that he lacks the elite size San Francisco needs, people turn away from him. The new news that the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. may be available gave another option, but the price required to get him off the Giants scares people off.
Now, here at Niner Noise, we have carefully debated each of these two players, but I present the all-powerful third option.
What if I told you that there was a player who had the size the 49ers covet, the professionalism that guarantees him playing without distraction, and the affordability that does not break the bank?
His name, as you see in the title, is Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
At first thought, most people would not think that Green would be available. But Bleacher Report breaks down exactly how he could be up for sale:
"Veteran quarterback Andy Dalton has regressed on paper and empirically the last couple of seasons, and it’s become apparent that both Dalton, 31, and top wide receiver A.J. Green, 30, won’t carry the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl. The team can save $28.4 million by parting ways with those two post-prime key players right now, and the timing would be perfect as rookie head coach Zac Taylor takes over."
Green did deal with a hurt toe last year that ended his season in December, so if you do want to be picky, Green has injury concerns.
However, Green has been the model of consistency playing in Cincinnati. He was ranked the 11th best wide receiver by Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 85.2. In only nine games last year, due to the toe, he finished with six touchdowns and over 600 yards.
That’s right, in just nine games, Green outperformed each and every 49ers wide receiver. That is not good news.
Rookie Dante Pettis came on late as a deep-shot monster for the 49ers, as I knew he would, and most people know the top-end speed Marquise Goodwin has. However, the 49ers are going to cut Pierre Garcon, leaving them without an X-receiver, a strong possession receiver. How does 6-foot-4 sound to you, there?
Now, I’m sure you’re asking, if Green is so good, then why isn’t his price through the roof? Good question. Well, this is Green’s last year on his current contract, with a cap hit of $15 million, per Spotrac. That’s a lot of dough and not a lot of time to keep him.
Adding that to his age, although he is only 31 and the supposed concerns over injuries, it becomes very easy to depress his trade value.
However, he is younger than Brown and comes with significantly less baggage. The worst thing that Green has done is fight Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and that’s probably it.
He will be significantly cheaper than Beckham, and Green doesn’t have a burdensome contract ahead. So, in theory, the 49ers don’t have to deal with him after the season.
With the current situation at hand, I’d say that a third-round draft pick would probably seal the deal. For a third-round pick, you get a seven-time Pro Bowler, a tall dominant receiver and a good role model for your young team.
Sign me up
With a third-round pick, you cannot do much better than Green — a move that solves all receiving problems with one fell swoop.