What the Arizona Cardinals front office did back on March 17th came as quite a surprise. While waiting to hear what wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s future plans were, the club went out and signed another outstanding pass-catcher. There have been varying opinions, however, on whether that particular acquisition will pay dividends for the Cards this coming fall.
A.J. Green, a longtime member of the Cincinnati Bengals, decided to leave that organization for a brand-new beginning in the Arizona desert. The former first-round draft pick was the focal point of the Bengals offense for quite some time, but his role will change with the Redbirds. With the sensational DeAndre Hopkins grabbing the bulk of the opposition’s attention, could Green be primed for a bounceback season?
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim certainly believes that will be the case. “A.J. Green, people seem to think, may have lost a step,” Keim said when the talented wideout was inked to a one-year contract. “He’s a guy to me who could play the Z-position for us, has great character, and I still think he has some stuff left in the tank.”
What Green accomplished on the playing field in 2020 would not appear to back up Keim’s assessment of the veteran. Last year, the 6’4, 210 pounder hauled in 47 passes for 523 yards and just two touchdowns, and averaged 11.1 yards per catch. Each of those statistics (except for the reception total) were career lows for the 32-year old Green.
Those who support Green would point to the fact that he played with an inexperienced trio of quarterbacks last season. Rookie Joe Burrow, the best of the three Cincinnati passers, suffered a debilitating knee injury during a week 10 matchup. Green was then forced to work with unspectacular signal-callers like Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley over the last six games.
Green will have no such problem with his new squad. Cards quarterback Kyler Murray is coming off of a Pro Bowl performance in which he amassed 3,971 passing yards, 819 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns in 16 starts. With a little help from his Arizona teammates, there’s a very good chance that Green could take home “Comeback Player of the Year” honors when the 2021 campaign comes to an end next January.