The Cincinnati Bengals will exercise their team option for a fifth year on the current contract of wide receiver A.J. Green, reports Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
So unfortunately, it appears as if Green will continue on with his career in Cincinnati. This is bad for the remainder of the AFC North.
Teams have had the opportunity to exercise their fifth-year option on their 2011 first round draft picks since Dec. 9, and must do so by May 3. The Steelers are fully expected to exercise their option on defensive end Cameron Heyward (also not good for the remainder of the AFC North). Jason at OverTheCap.com estimates the value of that option - the average of the 4th through 25th players at each position - at $8.4 million.
That money is guaranteed for injury from the moment a team exercises the option through to the start of the 2015 league season. At that point, it's fully guaranteed.
Cleveland selected Phil Taylor with the 21st overall pick, putting his estimated option value at $5.5 million, Baltimore selected cornerback Jimmy Smith 27th overall, giving him an estimated $7.2 million option value.
Heyward broke out in 2013 as a future core member of this team, and the face of a rebuilding defense. While the rest of the defensive line around him is still transitioning, his combination of power and quickness led him to emerge as one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. An extension isn't expected now, but he very likely will be a candidate for one next season. He'll carry his option figure, whatever it is finalized to be, onto the cap for next year until that long-term deal is worked out.
There will be an interesting domino effect to come along with that. The Jets selected defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson with the 29th overall pick, one spot ahead of Heyward, and has had the better career of the two. It's likely their deals will play off of each other, though, both of which represent two of the best five-technique players in the game.