A.J. Green is on the decline in his NFL career. There’s no shame in saying that for a guy entering his 11th NFL season who will be 33 years old in late July.
The Arizona Cardinals, though, are confident that Green is still a guy that can provide a ton of value to their offense.
General manager Steve Keim liked what he saw when looking back on Green’s 2020 season in which he recorded career lows in receptions (47), yards (523) and touchdowns (2).
“It all starts with the tape. I don’t think his stats are really telling a great story about the type of player he still is, in my opinion,” Keim said Monday. “I think he was targeted 118 times, we charted it, I think it was 38 balls that were uncatchable to our scouts and our coaching staff.
“He’s still got a lot left in the tank, in my opinion.”
Green had No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow as his quarterback for 10 games before a Burrow injury brought in Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley for the remaining six games of the season.
Green has never played a full season alongside another 1,000-yard receiver, either, which will surely change in 2021 with DeAndre Hopkins if both are able to stay healthy.
Keim watched a guy in Green that still has a high-level skill set.
“Runs great routes, really strong in traffic — I think he was the third-best receiver in the NFL this past year with catching balls in traffic,” he said. “Really strong hands, still has the vertical speed, runs crisp routes and is a guy with great character.”
One of the questions with Green, of course, is if his arrival means the departure of Larry Fitzgerald.
Keim said that Green does not close the door on Fitzgerald’s return, and that he’s texted with Fitzgerald a few times, but without any developments on the receiver’s potential return.
“Nothing to the extent of his intentions,” Keim said.