AJ Green
Don’t be surprised if AJ Green finds success in Arizona catching passes from Kyler Murray. (Frank Victores/Associated Press)

AJ Green is officially an Arizona Cardinal. A 7-time consecutive Pro-Bowler since entering the league was once considered the best receiver in football. But, he has dealt with numerous injuries the past couple of seasons. Finally joining a new franchise, can the veteran revitalize a recent downturn with Kyler Murray?

In his nine-year career, Green has had less than 1,000-yards receiving just three times, two of which come in the last two seasons. As Andy Dalton’s play declined, Joe Burrow went down with an injury, and Ryan Finley struggled, no receiver could truly succeed in that offense. While he is just about to turn 33-years-old, Green is a generational talent who can still succeed, but expectations should be tempered.

Coming off a serious foot injury that caused Green to miss all of 2019, the 2020 season was one to forget. Starting in just 14 games and playing a mere 76% of snaps, Cincinnati essentially gave up after Joe Burrow’s ACL injury and let rookie Tee Higgins and Auden Tate play more. When Green was on the field, he failed to make a consistent impact. At times he made vintage big plays and other times looking sluggish.

Entering Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense will give Green an opportunity that he’s never had before. On Arizona, Green will not draw primary coverage for the first time in his career with star DeAndre Hopkins as a teammate. The 37-year-old Larry Fitzgerald is a free agent and will likely not be back with the addition of Green. That alone frees up 72 targets from last season.

Green is also a significantly better pass-catcher than Christian Kirk or Andy Isabella and will consequently eat into their target-share. Those two together combined for 114 targets last season. If Green takes a mere quarter of their targets, he will expect a total of 100 targets next year.

Kyler Murray will be working with an improved offensive line after the addition of All-Pro center Rodney Hudson. The pocket will be even cleaner as Kyler will not have to take off and run as often as last season. This bodes well for Green’s opportunities to make plays downfield.

In an offense that featured Kyler attempting the 7th most passes in the league; the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers should be coveted fantasy options. AJ Green will face off against the second-best cornerback the defense has to offer and can take advantage of the slot, filling the role of Larry Fitzgerald. Unlike Fitzgerald, Green still offers great athleticism despite being on the wrong side of thirty.

The Cardinals are building something special in Arizona with a revamped roster, AJ Green will likely be playing for a more talented roster than the Bengals ever had in the past 9 seasons. With many targets to go around and a potent scoring offense, don’t be surprised if Green goes over 1,000-yards and potentially double-digit touchdowns.

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