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Bengals mail Part 1: Will Cincy give A.J. Green a Dez Bryant contract?

CINCINNATI -- It's been a big week for NFL receivers.

In a matter of minutes, the pay scale for the league's top pass-catchers was set when the Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant and the Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas signed deals Wednesday that will pay them $70 million across the next five seasons. They are slated to make more than $40 million each in guarantees.

As reserved as his demeanor typically is, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if A.J. Green came out of his shell and broke into a Cuba Gooding-esque dance when he found out about the signings. At some point in the foreseeable future, the Cincinnati Bengals -- or, perhaps eventually another team -- will be showing Green a lot of money, thanks to Bryant and Thomas.

So, just how much money could Green be seeing if it's the Bengals? That's where we begin with the first part of this weekend's mailbag:


@ColeyHarvey: Thanks for the question, Zins. A large part of it depends upon: A) when Green's deal gets signed (does he decide to work to get something done before the start of the regular season, or does he wait until next offseason) and B) where the Bengals rank him among the league's current top pass-catchers. There's no disputing that Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the game, but is Green the second-best? Or do the Bengals view him as the third- or fourth-best? Publicly, they will of course say they think of him as the best player in the NFL at his position. Realistically, though, it's hard justifying paying him as such for now since he missed so much time last season. Sure, he was really good when he was healthy in 2014, but he also was so regularly injured that he couldn't consistently contribute.

As to the when of Green's signing, a lot of that will be up to him. He's already said he wouldn't mind waiting until next offseason. In the short term, that might be his best move. Because if he waits until next year before entertaining a long-term offer, he still could claim a franchise tag for 2016 if a deal doesn't get worked out. He has a chance to make a lot of money if he waits. As far as the long term, though, maybe it's in his best financial interest to work a deal right now. I've been told the Bengals have no qualms with paying him, and they certainly value him as the team's centerpiece. But when does he want to sign? That's something it appears he'll have to determine for himself.

At this point, I'm personally having a tough time seeing the Bengals giving Green more than $43 million in guaranteed money (Andy Dalton was given about $22 million guaranteed on his deal last August), but if they truly value him the way I've been told, then he could pocket all of that cash. The crux of Green's deal will hinge upon the fact Bryant and Thomas are making $14 million per year. One could make a case the four-time Pro Bowler Green deserves that much, too. If he goes to a fifth Pro Bowl this year and has one of the best seasons of his career, then maybe he deserves closer to $15-$16 million. Again, the "when" of Green's signing is just as important as the numbers he will ultimately receive.


@ColeyHarvey: Adam Jones isn't the only one who has been working this summer, Jon. Similar statements could be made about multiple members of the Bengals' secondary. Sure, "Pacman" has been posting a lot of videos of his individual workouts at Paul Brown Stadium to social media, but Dre Kirkpatrick may have had the most focused offseason of his career. Darqueze Dennard paid better attention to his diet this spring and summer.

As far as the starting rotation at cornerback Week 1, we'll get a much better idea during training camp. But based on what we saw during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, I'd venture to say Jones has the right corner spot locked down, and Kirkpatrick has the left boundary position to himself, too. Dennard and veteran Leon Hall will be splitting duties in the slot in nickel situations. Hall also could play some safety after practicing there in minicamp. The bottom line is this: even if Kirkpatrick and Jones start on the edges in Week 1, expect to see all five aforementioned players to play regularly in a rotation at the position this season.


@ColeyHarvey: Zero, Richie Rich. It doesn't matter at what price the Bengals would be able to get him, there's no chance they re-sign Jermaine Gresham. OK, maybe zero is too definitive. Of course, if Cincinnati has injuries at the tight end position and are desperate to add a body to the position group, then perhaps they re-sign him. But at this point, barring a completely unforeseen emergency scenario, there's very little reason to believe Gresham will be back. His attitude certainly soured some in the locker room, and the drafting of two tight ends -- particularly two with 180-degree different personalities -- was a clear sign the Bengals wanted to completely move on from Gresham.