A.J Green inked a new deal with the Cardinals on Wednesday, putting an end to a prolific chapter as a Bengal after a decade. Green will fill a much needed WR2 position for the Cardinals, complimenting All-Pro WR Deandre Hopkins.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 17, 2021
A.J Green Stats With The Bengals
Through 10 years as a WR, Green put up video game numbers more often than not. He finished last season ranked second in Bengals franchise history in career receiving yards (9,430), second in touchdowns (65) and second in total receptions (649). Green also holds the team record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games (five, 2013) and has an impressive career yards per reception of over 14.5 yards.
The 7 time Pro Bowler has the most receiving yards amongst all wide receivers over the last 10 years.
— Blake Jewell (@BlakeJewellNFL) March 17, 2021
What went wrong for A.J. Green in Cincinnati?
While Green’s career as a Bengal was scintillating to say the least, his last few years, especially 2020, were bitter. Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on him in March 2020, leaving the two sides with a July 15 deadline to work out a new multiyear contract. Instead, the deadline passed without a deal.
Green told reporters last July, “I’ve been hurt. It was always tough to get a deal on. Especially (because) I know my value and also, they still need to see me play. I understand that’s a tough place to be when you’re running a business. But like I said, we had great communication. That’s one thing about this whole process. We understand each other. The points that we made, my agent (Ben Dogra) and I, the points [executive vice president Katie Blackburn] had made, for us the feeling is mutual. I always wanted to envision myself retiring at one team. That’s still on the table. If I stay healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
The bulk of Green’s totals came during the first five years of his career. But starting with the 2016 season, A.J Green was troubled with continuous injuries. And Ever since the 2016 season, he has missed 29 games, including the entire 2019 season over an ankle injury suffered in preseason.
Green played all 16 games in 2020 but had career single-season low totals of 47 catches for 523 yards and two touchdowns.
With back-to-back dismal seasons, the probability of Green finishing his career as a Bengal became next to nothing. Star rookie Quarterback Joe Burrow’s knee injury leaving the Bengals with one of the NFL’s worst offences was like adding fuel to the fire.
What to expect for Green with the Arizona Cardinals?
Hopkins pretty much carried the Cardinals Passing game in 2020, ending the year with 1,407 yards, a Pro Bowl and an All-Pro selection. The next most productive receiver was Christian Kirk with 621 yards. But with Green in the picture, stud quarterback Kyler Murray will have a lot more options to play with.
Kyler’s receivers if Larry Fitz comes back ♨️ pic.twitter.com/G0OW2RMRzG
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) March 17, 2021
Arizona ran three-wide receiver sets the most last season, accounting for 44.9% of its plays. Two-receiver sets accounted for 29.8% of plays and ran four-receiver sets on 20.3% of plays. A.J never really had an elite wide-out paired with him in Cincinnati, so he will definitely benefit with 3 time All-Pro Hopkins lined up beside him. Skip Bayless was quick to praise the Cardinals organisation for picking up the veteran as well:
Arizona signs A.J. Green: Great move. The Brady Effect: Great player at 33 with something to prove to his original team that let him go. Congrats, Kyler.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 17, 2021
Deandre will be a lock to trouble NFL defences and A.J Green proved he still has the juice to play a full 16 games even in year 10. So with Kyler Murray trending towards being a solid MVP candidate, the Cardinals will look scary in Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Both J.J watt and A.J green still don’t guarantee Arizona NFC West supremacy. But the 8-8 team will look much much more formidable to challenge for the crown amongst giants like the LA Rams, Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.