Maybe DeAndre Hopkins had a brief episode of uncharateristic optimism in the aftermath of a pretty damn good draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Then he probably realized, "Wait. Shit. My quarterback is still recovering from a major injury, we still have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, and now we're in the midst of a complete regime change."
Good on Ari Meirov being all over anything DeAndre Hopkins-adjacent. Thanks, brotendo. (Full I Am Athlete pod here)
But yeah, I wouldn't give a fuck about flip-flopping in May either if I were Hopkins in this situation. Zero shame in it. Nuk has deserved better throughout his NFL career. We're talking about a man who caught passes at a prolific rate from a line of trash-ass Houston Texans quarterbacks and still made a name for himself as an elite wide receiver.
A suspension and injuries in recent years have hampered Hopkins, not to mention a toxic culture in the desert. In spite of those pitfalls, when he was in action for nine games last year, Hopkins averaged 79.7 yards per game. Had he continued at that clip for a full 17 starts, we're talking about a 1,355-yard receiving campaign in Year 10.
Arizona could actually save $19.45 million against the 2023 salary cap if Hopkins is released with a post-June 1 designation. Might be like a game of chicken until then. I'd imagine everyone in the organization, as new as many of those folks are, recognize how much of a class act Nuk is and how respected he is. Would be nice to see the Cards do right by him and let the three-time first-team All-Pro chase that elusive Super Bowl somewhere else.
At least there are no hard feelings, or so it appears?
So anyway if Hopkins gets cut loose, or somebody pops up with a trade offer, the destinations he named that make the most sense are most definitely the Bills and Chiefs. You literally can't do better than Kansas City from a stability/winning standpoint at the minute. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid? Come on. It ain't fair. The Chiefs are a cut above the rest of the loaded AFC thanks to that QB-coach tandem. Hopkins would give them even more juice.
Then you have Buffalo. Can't imagine the Bills are thrilled with how Gabe Davis performed in 2022. The rest of their depth chart at receiver is nothing to write home about outside of Stefon Diggs. Pairing Hopkins up with someone like Diggs could lift Josh Allen's game to another stratosphere. Only thing is, the stability Hopkins covets is a little dubious with coach Sean McDermott taking some heat and the departure of respected defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
No, I don't want DeAndre Hopkins to go to either of those AFC contenders as a Bengals rooter-for-er. Unfortunately, few other landing spots make much sense based on what Hopkins is looking for. If I were the 49ers and I could convince Arizona to do an in-division trade, I'd be lighting up the phone lines every day trying to get him.
Speaking of the NFC West, who are we kidding? Only a matter of time before the Rams go full send from the top rope and throw down a first pick to get Nuk, right?