A.J. Green arrived in Cincinnati like a lion (or a Bengal, if you prefer) and went out like a lamb, but he's not yet done lacing them up.
Green is headed to the desert, agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The contract includes a base salary of $6 million, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, with incentives available to push the total to its maximum value. The team later annonced the signing.
Green's agreement was the beginning of an exciting Wednesday for the Cardinals, who are also set to address a huge need on the interior of the offensive line as they are finalizing the acquisition of center Rodney Hudson from the Las Vegas Raiders in a trade that will see Arizona also receive a seventh-round pick and send a third-round selection to the Raiders, Garafolo and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Green moves west after closing his time in Cincinnati in quiet fashion, catching just 47 of his 104 targets for 523 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. His 11.1 yards per catch, 2.9 receptions per game and two receiving touchdowns were the lowest of his career, and it became clear as the season progressed that the future at the position would be with rookie Tee Higgins as the Bengals' top target, not Green.
The seven-time Pro Bowler will join a Cardinals team that is loading up for a run at the playoffs after wilting down the stretch. He'll add to a receiving corps that also includes DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella, and could see the return of Larry Fitzgerald, provided he decides he wants to continue his Hall of Fame career.
While Green is clearly on the back nine of his own NFL career and has declined in multiple key metrics in the last three years (he did not play in 2019), a resurgence in Arizona is possible in an offense powered by quarterback Kyler Murray and directed by pass-friendly coach Kliff Kingsbury. He'll at least provide some insurance for a potential departure of Fitzgerald -- even if Green isn't the type to replace Fitzgerald in the slot, where the veteran moved in recent years -- and if Fitzgerald ends up returning, the Cardinals will trot out a group that could include as many as three pass-catchers who could one day end up in Canton.