CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals exercised a 2015 contract option for receiver A.J. Green on Monday, letting them turn their focus to an extension for quarterback Andy Dalton.
The Bengals will have to pay Green the average of the top 10 receivers in the NFL.
Green was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft and was entering the final season on his deal. The collective bargaining agreement allows teams to exercise a fifth-year option on players drafted in the top 10.
Green has 3,833 yards receiving in his first three seasons, trailing only Randy Moss' 4,163 yards in his first three seasons. He set club records with six 100-yard receiving games and five straight 100-yard games last season. He finished with 1,426 yards, trailing only Chad Johnson's club record of 1,440 yards.
Bengals owner Mike Brown said at the NFL's annual meeting last month that he planned to exercise the fifth-year option on Green, which had to be done by the first week in May.
"It's what is in the new CBA," Green said on Monday morning. "There's nothing I can do about it."
By exercising the option, Bengals can wait until after next season to talk to Green about a long-term deal.
"That's one thing I don't ever worry about, that business side," Green said. "I feel like my body of work speaks for itself. So whenever the time is right, it happens."
Dalton was taken in the second round in 2011, so he's not subject to an option year. His deal expires after this season. Dalton said on Monday that the Bengals have talked to him about an extension, but nothing appears to be imminent.