Green had been expected to leave Cincinnati all along. It’s a one-year deal worth “up to” $8.5MM with $6MM of that being guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The base value is $6MM with incentives that can push it higher, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. While Cardinals fans might be quick to get excited about this news, it could also indicate that fellow free agent Larry Fitzgerald is unlikely to return. Fitzgerald, 37, could decide to hang up his cleats or even continue playing with another team.
Green is now the second first-round pick from the 2011 draft the Cards have added this offseason after they already signed J.J. Watt. If they bring back Patrick Peterson, they’ll have three of the top 11 picks from that draft on the roster. Once one of the best receivers in the game, injuries limited Green to just nine contests in 2018 and he then missed the entire 2019 season.
He returned this past year to appear in all 16 games, but his role was greatly reduced in new coach Zac Taylor’s offense. He finished with just 47 catches for 523 yards, easily the lowest total of his career, including the nine-game campaign. His 694 yards in nine 2018 games would’ve projected out to 1,233 yards for a full season, so there are reasons to believe he’s still got something in the tank.
While it ended on a bad note, the fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft had an incredible run in Cincy. He set all sorts of franchise records while making seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. He didn’t seem to see eye to eye with the new Bengals management, and there was even some speculation back in October that he wanted to be traded although the wideout denied it.
Green will turn 33 in July, and he certainly won’t be the number one option in an offense that features DeAndre Hopkins. But he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and perhaps Hopkins’ presence will free things up for him. Here’s to hoping he rejuvenates his career in the desert.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.