Veteran receiver A.J. Green, one of the most prolific players in franchise history over his 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, it was announced Wednesday.
The deal is worth up to $8.5 million and includes $6 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Green, who will be 33 at the start of next season, will fill a much-needed WR2 hole for the Cardinals and will be the complementary piece to DeAndre Hopkins that the team was seeking. Green has the most receiving yards over the past 10 years, while Hopkins is third.
“Time to go to work!” Hopkins tweeted Wednesday.
If Larry Fitzgerald returns for the 2021 season, Arizona could feature three future Hall of Fame receivers on its roster.
Hopkins essentially carried Arizona’s passing game in 2020, leading the team with 1,407 receiving yards; the next-most productive receiver was Christian Kirk with 621 yards.
Green will give third-year quarterback Kyler Murray another every-down threat, likely on the opposite side of the field from Hopkins.
Arizona ran three-wide receiver sets the most last season, accounting for 44.9% of its plays. Two-receiver sets accounted for 29.8% of the Cardinals’ plays, and they ran four-receiver sets on 20.3% of plays.
Green’s contributions with the Bengals dropped significantly over the past few seasons because of numerous injuries and apparent frustrations with his role in the offense.
He finished last season ranked second in Bengals franchise history in career receiving yards (9,430), second in touchdowns (65) and second in total receptions (649). Green also holds the team record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games (five, 2013).
7 Pro Bowl selections
Countless memories on & off the field.
Thank you for everything, A.J. 💚 pic.twitter.com/IMwXcgoxHw
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 17, 2021
In an Instagram post, Green said he was “forever grateful” to the Bengals and the Brown family, which owns the franchise. He also wrote that Bengals fans were “an inspiration to me.”
The bulk of Green’s totals, however, came during the first five years of his career. Starting with the 2016 season, the former Georgia standout battled numerous injuries. From that point onward, he missed 29 games, including the entire 2019 season after he suffered an ankle injury in the first preseason practice.
Green played all 16 games in 2020 but had career single-season low totals of 47 catches for 523 yards and two touchdowns. He caught 43.9% of his targets, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, the lowest of any qualifying Bengals receiver last season.
He was frustrated at times last season. In Week 5 at Baltimore, Green was asked about a sideline exchange in which he appeared to indicate that if the Bengals didn’t want to use him, they should trade him. Green downplayed the interaction in subsequent interviews.
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection played the 2020 season on the one-year franchise tag worth $18.2 million after the two sides failed to reach a long-term deal during the offseason.
ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss and Ben Baby contributed to this report.