Arizona Cardinals bring back veteran wide receiver A.J. Green on a 1-year contract
Veteran wide receiver A.J. Green, who finished second in the Cardinals last season in receiving yards, is returning for a second season after agreeing to terms on a one-year contract, the team announced on Thursday.
Green, 33, had 54 receptions for 848 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona in 2021 after spending his first 10 NFL seasons with the Bengals. His 54 catches ranked tied for third with rookie Rondale Moore behind Christian Kirk (77) and Zach Ertz (56). His 848 receiving yards were second only to Kirk’s 982.
Though he will turn 34 on July 31, Green’s return helps strengthen the Cardinals’ wide receiver room following the free-agent departure of Kirk to the Jaguars this offseason. Prior to Green agreeing to terms on a second one-year deal, the top three wideouts on Arizona’s roster were DeAndre Hopkins, Moore and Antoine Wesley.
The Cardinals also have Andy Isabella, Greg Dortch and Andrew Baccellia under contract, although they have given Isabella permission to seek a trade as he likely will be released.
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Speaking at the NFL meetings last month in Palm Beach, Fla., Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said he “definitely” envisioned a scenario where Green might return for a second season.
“We love what he brought to us last year,” Kingsbury said, “and I think another year in our system, (quarterback) Kyler (Murray) and him building his relationship, will be really good.”
Green was better than expected last season, although in seven games he finished with 44 or fewer receiving yards and was held without a single catch on three targets during the Cardinals’ NFC Wild Card loss to the Rams. He did, however, lead the team with 15.7 yards per catch, which ranks fifth in the NFL among all players with at least 50 receptions.
Green had two 100-yard receiving games in his debut season with the Cardinals, catching five passes for 112 yards during a 31-19 victory over the Jaguars and catching a season-high seven passes for 102 yards during a 30-23 loss to the Rams.
Though Green’s return helps fill part of the void left by Kirk’s departure, it won’t preclude the Cardinals from adding at least one wide receiver through the upcoming NFL draft. They could use either their first- or second-round pick on a wideout.
Players that could be available when Arizona makes its first selection include Jameson Williams from Alabama, Treylon Burks from Arkansas, George Pickens from Georgia and Jahan Dotson from Penn State.
Green was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection during his tenure in Cincinnati (2011-17) and also was named second-team All-Pro on two occasions (2012-13). He has appeared in 143 career games (134 starts) during the regular season and has 703 receptions for 10,278 receiving yards and 68 touchdowns.
He joins Hopkins and Julio Jones as the only active players with 700 or more receptions and 10,000 or more receiving yards.
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