The New Orleans Saints could have one big move up their sleeve before the NFL trade deadline — a trade for All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green.
The Saints have been able to roll this season despite the loss of quarterback Drew Brees for a long stretch, bursting out to a 5-1 record thanks in large part to an offense filled with weapons. The football betting market seems to think that the NFC South-leading team has one more move, with the Saints picked as frontrunners to trade for the Cincinnati Bengals receiver. Sportsline put the Saints at +200 odds to trade for Green, which makes them the head of the pack with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Buffalo Bills also seen as contenders.
Landing Green would cement the Saints as frontrunners in a competitive NFC, especially with Brees set to return in the coming weeks. The move would also propel the Bengals into a rebuild.
Both Green and the Bengals have tried to tamp down the trade rumors, with Green this week saying he hasn’t heard anything from the Bengals about plans to trade him and the team insisting that he is not on the trade block. But there is widespread belief that Green, who is playing out the end of his contract with the Bengals this season, will be moved ahead of the trade deadline as Cincinnati looks to rebuild — and the denials from the Bengals may ring a bit hollow after the Jacksonville Jaguars made similar statements about not planning to trade Jalen Ramsey up until his actual trade.
It’s not clear yet when Green could return to the field, however. As ESPN noted, he has been rehabbing from an ankle injury that is now believed to keep him out past the October 29 trade deadline, which could sink his value.
Another report from ESPN this week cast doubt on what the Bengals might be able to get for the banged-up receiver. One NFC personnel evaluator said that the Bengals can still get good value in return, but not the first-round picks that other top players have fetched in recent trades
“Considering the recent injury history, I think [Cincinnati] can fetch a second-round pick for him,” the source said.
The report noted that others around the NFL seem to agree with the assessment of a second-round pick in return for A.J. Green, but noted that the Bengals might be able to swap picks from the fourth or fifth rounds to sweeten the deal.