The Cardinals Apparently Couldn't Find A Trade Partner For DeAndre Hopkins And Decided To Release Him Instead
Pretty surprising that the Arizona Cardinals couldn't swing at least, you know, a Day 3 draft pick or something for DeAndre Hopkins. It seems the market cooled on the superstar wide receiver, and new GM Monti Ossenfort had no other choice but to cut him loose.
Too early to find this specific information, but if Hopkins wasn't released with a post-June 1 designation, Arizona eats over $21 million in dead money while still saving almost $9 million against the salary cap in 2023. The post-June 1 cut would mean only $10.5 million in dead cap and $19.45 million in savings, per OTC.
Has to be a tough pill for the new Cardinals brass. You have to respect that they did right by Hopkins, though. That suspension from last year notwithstanding, Nuk has been a class act by all accounts ever since he entered the NFL. Earlier this week he pulled an about face regarding his future plans on the gridiron by publicly declaring who he'd like to catch footballs from going forward.
One of the teams he didn't bring up was the Patriots but that won't stop the speculation...
I still maintain that Hopkins' most sensible landing spots are the Bills and the Chiefs. Teaming up with either Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes has to be an appealing proposition for Hopkins, who's suffered through subpar, inconsistent or downright terrible quarterback play for much of his career. And yet..he's still had an insanely productive 10-year run.
Even if he isn't quite as explosive as he once was, though that's debatable, Hopkins is so crafty and strong at the catch point that he'll be able to extend his playing days for at least a few years in my opinion. That's especially so if he's paired with someone like Mahomes or Allen.
The Chiefs don't really have a No. 1 wide receiver to be honest. They made do with a patchwork crew in 2022 and were good enough to win the Super Bowl. Can only imagine how Mahomes might go off with a weapon like Nuk at his disposal.
Then you have Buffalo, who needs a bit of a spark after getting embarrassed at home by THE CINCINNATI BENGALS BAY-BEEEEE in the Divisional Round. Gabe Davis didn't build on his breakout playoff performance from the previous year, and Allen could use another more dependable target on the outside to complement Stefon Diggs.
Maybe since Nuk is from South Carolina and played at Clemson, he could be lured to the Panthers. They're another team who could use a steady WR1 for their new franchise QB Bryce Young. Plus, they have the second-most cap room in the league right now at over $27 million.
It might mean taking a bit of a pay cut, yet Hopkins could definitely talk himself into San Francisco. Despite the QB situation being a little up in the air due to Brock Purdy's health, imagine a 49ers receiving corps with Hopkins, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. DAMN. Then you factor in the lesser competition in the NFC, and the Bay Area has a lot going for it.
Excited to see DeAndre Hopkins potentially go to a non-mess of an organization coming off his years in Houston and Arizona. Although it feels like the Cardinals are on the right track, Hopkins wasn't going to be around to see through a rebuild. Looking forward to seeing where he signs. Not every day a wideout of Nuk's caliber hits the open market.