Kirkpatrick, Zeitler Become Priorities

The Bengals have some short-term priorities, including getting contract extensions with both cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and right guard Kevin Zeitler before May 4. That will be taken care of well before they get deep into any A.J. Green contract talks.

Now that head coach Marvin Lewis has been extended one year and had his lame duck status for 2015 removed, the Bengals' immediate focus right now is on getting extensions with both cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and right guard Kevin Zeitler before May 4.

That’s the date the Bengals must decide if they want to place a fifth-year option on Kirkpatrick and Zeitler. It would cost $8 million to option Kirkpatrick next year and $6 million for Zeitler.

It's a big decision based on a small sample size for Kirkpatrick, a 2012 first-round pick who has started just five games, and played on just 28.3 percent of the snaps last season.

Zeitler, of course is more of a known commodity, and he's much more than that as a trusted member of a ferocious offensive line that cleared running lanes last season and kept the quarterback upright. Zeitler was Pro Football Focus' No. 9-rated guard in 2014.

Elsewhere on the financial front, wide receiver A.J. Green said his agent has talked to the Bengals once about an extension.

Green, heading into the final year of his contract under a fifth-year option worth $10.2 million, doesn't seem to be too concerned even though it sounds like the two sides didn't get very far on an extension.

"I handle the part of playing. I'm not hurting for money," Green said. "I got my option. That’s enough for now. I’m just focused on football. Next year will take care of itself."

Green would be a candidate for the franchise tag next offseason if the two sides don't have a deal by then.


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