The Chiefs were reportedly one of the most active teams looking into former Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this year. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Kansas City had received permission to talk with the now-free agent earlier in the offseason and spoke with him before the draft.
The biggest hurdle for the Chiefs, as it was for any team Arizona spoke to, was having to take on Hopkins’s existing contract. If a trade were going to take place, Kansas City wanted a much lower price, meaning the Cardinals would have to take on some of Hopkins’s contract in the trade.
The Chiefs were fairly big spenders this offseason after making big deals for tackle Jawaan Taylor and defensive end Charles Omenihu, resulting in the exhaustion of most of their salary cap. After their most recent $3MM deal for tackle Donovan Smith, the Chiefs are 31st in the league in available cap space, according to OvertheCap.com.
While adding Hopkins is on anyone’s wish list, except perhaps Arizona’s, Kansas City also doesn’t seem desperate to add any more wide receivers. Despite losing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman to free agency, the team has real confidence in Kadarius Toney‘s potential. They return Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore and drafted SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice in the second round to compete for snaps with the starters.
Here are a few more rumors surrounding the still young free agency of DHop:
- The Chiefs were not the only team that the Cardinals struggled to find equal ground with on a trade. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who spoke on the Pat McAfee Show, Arizona was working to trade the veteran wideout up until the day before the first round of the NFL draft. The Cardinals hit snags, though, as each discussion required handling of draft pick compensation and salary adjustments that would require Arizona to take on some of Hopkins’s salary. In the end, they opted to take the hit in the salary cap while ultimately saving cash.
- ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was one of the first to release a list of best fits for Hopkins in his newfound free agency. According to Fowler, the Bills, Chiefs, Jets, Cowboys, and Saints are the teams to watch out for in the initial race. A Stefon Diggs-Hopkins-Gabriel Davis trio could be just what’s needed to put the Bills in a Super Bowl, but the team only has around $2.4MM in cap space. The Jets are a bit better at $6.9MM of cap space (still far under the $19.45MM Hopkins was set to make in Arizona this year), but the team is working to create more cap room by restructuring large contracts like those of linebacker C.J. Mosley and wide receiver Corey Davis. They nearly had Odell Beckham Jr. before the Ravens swept in and nabbed him themselves. The Cowboys are set on defense and have some strong weapons on offense. Adding Hopkins to a receiving corps that contains CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks could be deadly, and they’ve got $9MM of cap space to work with. The Saints have missed having a star wideout as they’ve dealt with the durability issues of Michael Thomas. Hopkins would be a nice veteran mentor for youngsters Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed, and New Orleans has the most cap space of the above teams at $13.6MM. Fowler also lists the Browns, Giants, Falcons, and Patriots as wild-card teams to look out for.
- Speaking of the Patriots, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that, now that the contract isn’t nearly as much of a hurdle, New England is more likely to pursue Hopkins. Hopkins reportedly had a bit of a rocky relationship with Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien when the two were in Houston together, but adding Hopkins would immediately provide quarterback Mac Jones with a WR1. Hopkins would be teaming up with Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, and last year’s second-round pick Tyquan Thornton to try and mount an upgraded New England passing attack.