For much of his career, A.J. Green has been one of the NFL’s best pass-catchers, and the hope is he’ll get back to form in 2020.
After missing all of last season with an ankle injury, Green is entering a critical year for the rest of his career, which hopes to span many more seasons in Cincinnati. He’s currently set to play on the one-year franchise tag, and a big season could lead to him landing a bigger long-term contract next offseason.
However, history does not favor aging receivers like Green, who turns 32 on July 31st, playing at a high level this later in their career, as ESPN’s Ben Baby writes:
Of the 219 times a player had 1,000 receiving yards in a season in the previous decade, only 11 were 32 or older, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And six players combined for those 11 instances.
So in essence, only six players age 32 or older have recorded 1,000+ receiving yards in the last 10 years. Among the receivers who did hit that mark include Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith and Reggie Wayne, all of whom will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
Green is obviously a strong candidate to make it there himself after going over 1,000 yards in six of his first seven seasons. And there’s no question that Green in his prime is as good as any of those receivers who managed to hit 1,000 yards while being 32 or older.
But after missing 23 of his last 32 games due to injury, he’s no longer the 100% Hall of Fame lock he was before. He probably needs to just have a few more good seasons to secure his spot in Canton, but that’s easier said than done based on recent history.
Hopefully, Green gets back to his glory days now that he has what should be a significant upgrade at quarterback in Joe Burrow.