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He started his career with seven Pro Bowl selections and six seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and was considered one of the best receivers in the league.
However, his production has dipped. He missed half of the 2018 season and all of 2019 with injuries. He has not had more than 47 receptions and has not cracked 700 receiving yards since 2017.
Despite the drop in production and the fact that he will be 33 years old this season, the Cardinals are optimistic about what Green can do with them.
“It all starts with the tape and I don’t think his stats are really telling a great story about the type of player he still is in my opinion,” said general manager Steve Keim when he spoke to reporters earlier this week. “I think he was targeted 118 times. We charted it. 38 balls were uncatchable.”
Keim believes everything that was there before is still there in Green as a player.
“He’s still got a lot left in the tank,” he said. “He runs great routes. (He’s) really strong in traffic. I think he was the third-best receiver in the NFL this past year with catching balls in traffic. Really strong hands, still has the vertical speed, runs crisp routes, and is a guy with great character.”
Now he will no longer be the focal point of opposing defenses as he was in Cincinnati.
The Cardinals have DeAndre Hopkins on one side of the field. He draws top cornerbacks and often gets covered by multiple players.
Green will now benefit from attention from lesser-skilled corners and with single coverage.
He will likely cause the Cardinals to move Christian Kirk inside.
“We primarily see (Green) as our ‘Z’ receiver, but we’ll move all those guys around to create different mismatches against the defenses we see,” Keim said.
With Hopkins and Green on the perimeters, the Cardinals are better at receiver than they were last season. Green’s potential production has an incredibly high ceiling.
At $6 million, he doesn’t have to be an All-Pro. He doesn’t have to gain 1,000 yards. If he gets 70 catches and 850 yards, the Cardinals will have gotten a great value for Green’s deal.