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DeAndre Hopkins Basically Confirms Cardinals Trade Rumor, And Should Draw Plenty Of Interest Given 2023's Awful Free-Agent WR Class

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DeAndre Hopkins served a six-game suspension this year and dealt with a knee injury the season before that, so I can see why many would believe him to be damaged goods. Then again, he's been a part of nothing but toxic organizations his entire career, beginning with the Houston Texans and then in his latest three-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals.

No matter who this guy's quarterback has been — ***how awful they've been — the artist known as Nuk still produces mind-boggling catches, is an excellent route-runner and by all accounts, until his six-game ban, was viewed as the utmost professional. Give him a DECENT locker room and culture to flourish in, and I think Hopkins has plenty left in the tank. Not to mention, there's a perception he has to fight against that his best football might be behind him.

Granted, Hopkins is entering his age-31 season, but he's going to be super fresh in 2023 with a lot to prove and a new environment to be reinvigorated by.

The draft is still a ways off, and I would imagine any suitor interested in Hopkins would bring him aboard before that so they know where their wide receiver room stands before digging into the latest talent coming out of college. Hard to expect someone to perform at a Pro Bowl-caliber level out of the gates like Hopkins, though.

This blog's headline better underscores why Hopkins should be an extremely hot commodity. The free-agent class of receivers is among the worst I can ever recall seeing.

Giphy Images.

I realize a lot of these guys are younger than Hopkins, but like…would you rather overpay for JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jakobi Meyers or Darius Slayton…or get DeAndre Hopkins at a decent rate for a couple years, and tack on a couple extra as the salary cap is ready to explode? Should be rhetorical question but hey, knock yourself out with the simpleton "NUK IS WASHED" take.

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Here are my top DeAndre Hopkins destinations, bulleted for the sake of brevity:

  • Kansas City Chiefs — You already have a burner on the outside in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, not to mention Kadarius Toney as an electrifying playmaker who's sort of waiting in the wings to be fully unleashed. Bring JuJu back to man the slot if you want. Regardless, plugging Hopkins into this Chiefs offense would be special to behold. Borderline unstoppable.
  • Green Bay Packers — With Allen Lazard likely leaving and Christian Watson being a size-speed freak, there's an opening for another weapon in the Packers' passing attack. It'd be hilarious if Aaron Rodgers retired and Green Bay finally swung a splashy, outside acquisition for an All-Pro wideout. Whether it's ARodg or Jordan Love, Hopkins would do wonders for the locker room and be an ideal mentor for Watson.
  • New England Patriots — There's a video of Bill Belichick and Hopkins making the rounds of late, and we all know The Hoodie can't draft that position to save his life. While Hopkins wouldn't be quite on the level of the Randy Moss move, it'd at least be a sign Belichick wants to stay current with 21st century offense.
  • New York Giants — No one has more 2023 salary cap space than the G-Men ($57.2 million) other than Chicago and Atlanta. New York is well ahead of schedule on its rebuild. Brian Daboll is an excellent offensive coach. Daniel Jones has stunned the world with how well he's played despite a dearth of pass-catching weapons. It won't take a super lucrative contract to retain Danny Dimes, and even if the Giants pay Saquon big running back money, they'll have plenty left over to land Hopkins. The big market and a franchise trending in the right direction are huge selling points for Nuk to sign off on a trade.

Aaaaand here's a rundown of Hopkins' starting QBs over the course of his decade in the NFL:

  • Matt Schaub
  • Case Keenum
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Ryan Mallett
  • Brian Hoyer
  • TJ Yates
  • Brandon Weeden
  • Brock Osweiler
  • Tom Savage
  • Deshaun Watson
  • Kyler Murray
  • Colt McCoy
  • Trace McSorley
  • David Blough

What a group. And with the Texans and Cardinals, no less!

From 2015 through 2017, Hopkins averaged 95 catches for 1,284 yards and nine TDs per season. On a 55.1% catch rate when he was targeted. This past season, Arizona's QBs had an 84.4 passer rating when targeting Hopkins after a 141.4 mark in 10 games during 2021.

Giphy Images.

I know it makes little sense to pay up for a receiver on the elder side of 30, yet in this instance, Hopkins feels like an exception to that general rule.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok