A.J. Green signing by Cardinals rated one of worst free agent moves so far

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Jess Root
·2 min read
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The Arizona Cardinals are excited about the addition of wide receiver A.J. Green to their team. He gives them a proven veteran who they believe can still produce at a high level opposite DeAndre Hopkins. On a one-year, $6 million deal, it is at a reasonable price.

However, Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield for Touchdown Wire disagree. They list the deal among the worst of free agency so far.

A.J. Green made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that Andy Dalton was his primary quarterback through that time. From 2011 through 2017, Green ranked fourth in targets (949), fifth in receptions (556), fourth in receiving yards (8,213), and sixth in touchdowns (57). At his peak, Green was unquestionably one of the best receivers in football, but his age 32 season with the Bengals was his worst by far.

Last season, Green caught just 47 passes on 104 targets for 523 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn’t played all 16 games in a season since 2017, and it’s a mystery as to why the Cardinals would spend $6 million guaranteed on a one-year deal to find out if 2020 was an aberration.

The Cardinals paid Larry Fitzgerald $11.75 million in 2020 to catch 54 passes. This doesn’t seem like a bad deal, especially with the potential upside.

The Cardinals believe Green will get a lot of one-on-one matchups as a result of the attention defenses will have to pay to Hopkins. They believe he can still win those one-on-one battles. He has great hands, great size and runs great routes. Plus, it will move Christian Kirk inside to the slot. Green against teams’ second and third-best cornerbacks is a matchup you have to like.

There is some risk with his age and injuries the last couple of years, but there is plenty of upside for the price.

It might not end being a good deal but it isn’t a bad deal, at least not yet.

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2021 Cardinals free agent tracker: Additions, departures, re-signings, tenders, trades

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