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Greener Pastures: Arizona Signs WR A.J. Green

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Longtime Bengal A.J. Green is finally leaving Cincinnati after 9 full seasons.  The Arizona Cardinals signed Green to a one-year contract worth up to 8.5 million dollars (espn.com).  The 6-4 210 pounder will indeed be missed by Bengal fans as he is one of the best wide receivers to ever play in Cincinnati.  Here is a closer look at Green’s career and what he brings to the table for his new team in Arizona.

Green’s Career Stats and Accomplishments

Green had three tremendous seasons while in college at the University of Georgia.  The Bengals drafted Green in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 4th overall selection.  Green’s rookie contract paid him nearly 20 million over four years.  

The deal paid off well for both parties as Green was selected to seven straight Pro Bowls from 2011 to 2017 (pro-football-reference.com).  Green’s career numbers are staggering as he has caught 65 touchdowns and had over 9,000 receiving yards thus far.  If Green can put up some decent numbers in Arizona, he may very well be a future Hall of Fame inductee.

What can the Arizona Cardinals expect from Green?

Green brings blazing speed and good route running ability to the Cardinals receiving corps.  The Cardinals hope that signing Green will open up more space downfield for their other prolific pass catcher, DeAndre Hopkins.  Kyler Murray, the Cards promising young quarterback, will definitely be thrilled to have two abundantly talented wideouts to throw the ball to.  Murray is really starting to come into his own at the QB position so adding another veteran wideout can only bolster the Cardinals offensive performance.

If Green is so talented, why did the Cardinals only sing him to a 1 year deal?  That answer comes down to two words, Risk Management!  Yes, Green has more talent and physical ability than most NFL wide receivers.  However, age is a concern as Green will turn 33 years old before the 2021 season kicks off.  Few receivers perform at a high level after the age of 30.

Another concern for the Cardinals is Green’s injury history.  While fully healthy during his first five years in the league, Green has had his share of bad luck with the injury bug since 2016.  In fact, Green missed the entire 2019 season after tearing multiple ligaments in his ankle during a training camp practice.

After missing all of the 2019 campaign, Green did appear in all 16 games for the Bengals last season but his performance was not up to his usual standards.  Green only achieved two touchdown catches in 2020 which was by far the lowest in his career.  Green’s 523 receiving yards were also the least he’s had over his 9 seasons in the league.

How much does Green have left in the tank and has his bad ankle fully healed?  Those are two questions that will definitely be on the minds of all Cardinals coaches and fans heading into training camp.

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