- Coley Harvey, ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter
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"It's a good thing they picked it up," he said, smiling. "It would have been a bad thing if they didn't."
This time next year, he'll have more than 10 million reasons to be happy the franchise elected to hold onto him a fifth season while it negotiates a longer-term deal. Since the latest collective bargaining agreement grants players drafted in the top 10 the same salary allocations in their option years as transition-tagged veterans who play their positions, Green is scheduled to make nearly $10.2 million in 2015. He'll make about $6.3 million in 2014, the final year of his original rookie contract.
Until the Bengals exercised Green's option last Monday, he had been one of three young upcoming free agents on the Bengals' radar to re-sign. They now aren't stressed to work out a deal with him this season, and could wait until as late as after the 2016 season to put one in place. After the 2015 option year, Green is eligible to be franchise tagged the next season.
In addition to wanting to keep Green, the Bengals also are trying to lock up quarterback Andy Dalton and linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Their rookie contracts expire after this season. Since neither were first-round picks, they aren't eligible for the fifth-year option Green will be receiving.
Green had more than 1,400 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns last season. He was one of three receivers in the league to rank in the top 10 in both yards and touchdowns.
CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green told reporters Monday he was glad the Cincinnati Bengals had picked up his fifth-year option, keeping him on their roster at least through the 2015 season.