A.J. Green may have played his last game for the Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals need to cut ties with A.J. Green following the veteran wide receiver’s up and down campaign in 2021.
When the Arizona Cardinals signed A.J. Green last year, many of the team’s fans were less than thrilled. The seven-time Pro Bowler’s production had been on the decline, and there were those who believed that the Cards were making a mistake.
Green turned in a steady performance for the Redbirds during the first 15 weeks of the 2021 campaign, but then his play dropped off dramatically. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Green totaled just eight receptions during Arizona’s final four games and failed to catch a single pass during the squad’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The late-season demise of the longtime Cincinnati Bengal can be attributed to an injury suffered by one of the Cardinals’ best players. After superstar DeAndre Hopkins tore the MCL in his knee versus the Rams in Week 14, Green struggled to get open. The wily veteran was productive in his role as the number-two receiver, but not having Hopkins around to draw double-teams made Green‘s job much more difficult.
Arizona Cardinals should look for an upgrade over A.J. Green in 2022
Cards general manager Steve Keim will have a plethora of in-house free agents to deal with this offseason, and holding on to all of them will be impossible. There are several players that the front office will have a real interest in retaining, but it’s doubtful that Green would fall into that category.
Christian Kirk, another Arizona wideout who has an expiring contract, will likely be more coveted by the organization. The Scottsdale native possesses breakaway ability and is eight years younger than the 33-year-old Green.
On paper, the numbers posted by Green this past fall were certainly respectable. In 16 appearances, the former University of Georgia product tallied 54 receptions, 848 receiving yards, and three touchdowns for the Cardinals.
Despite the solid statistics, there were times when the effort being put forth by Green could be legitimately questioned. Quarterback Kyler Murray, in particular, seemed to lack communication with the South Carolina native. During the Cards’ loss to the Green Bay Packers back in October, Green’s failure to turn around for the ball in the end zone resulted in a game-ending interception that was obviously charged to Murray.
Acquiring a better No. 2 pass-catcher to complement the sensational Hopkins should be a top priority for Arizona. There was a time when Green could be lumped in with the NFL’s best wide receivers, but those days are now a thing of the past.