A.J. Green will be with the Bengals at least through 2015 after the Bengals picked up the fifth year on his contract on Monday.
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 13, 2012 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Elsa / Getty Images North America
By Kevin GoheenFOX Sports Ohio
CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green is going to get a hefty raise next season.
The Bengals exercised the option to pick up a fifth year on Green's contract, which is their right under the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 that ended the NFL's lockout of players. Green was heading into the final year of his rookie contract and is due to make $3.06 million this season. Instead of potentially becoming a free agent next offseason, the Bengals will pay Green $10.176 million in 2015.
NFL.com's Albert Breer originally reported the move on Monday, along with Arizona and Pittsburgh picking up similar options on cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, respectively.
The Bengals later confirmed the contract extension when contacted by FoxSportsOhio.com.
Owner Mike Brown indicated at the NFL Owners Meetings last month that the team would make this move and concentrate on negotiating with quarterback Andy Dalton on an extension. The Bengals picked Green No. 4 overall in 2011 and he's responded with 260 receptions for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns.
He's been chosen to the Pro Bowl all three seasons and has been named second-team AP All-Pro the last two seasons.
Under the new CBA, all rookie draft picks get four-year deals but teams have the right to exercise a fifth year to the contracts of first-round picks. They must do so by May 3. For those players chosen in the top 10 of the draft, as Green was, that fifth year value must be at the price of the current year's transition tag.
Monday's move does not preclude the Bengals and Green from negotiating a further contract extension.
The Bengals began their offseason workout program on Monday. Green, speaking with reporters before the report of the option came out, said heâs added 6-10 pounds of muscle to his upper body. He didn't seem to have much concern about his contract status.
"I'm still under contract," said Green. "That's one thing I don't ever worry about. That business side. I feel like my body of work speaks for itself. So whenever the time is right, it happens."