DeAndre Hopkins‘ tenure in Arizona came to a sudden end yesterday when the Cardinals released the veteran wideout. Throughout the offseason, Hopkins was one of the most popular names on the trade market, and there were whispers that a number of teams had engaged the Cardinals in trade talks. However, Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that only the Bills and the Chiefs had “substantive” discussions with the Cardinals.
Breer adds that both cash-strapped teams had issues fitting in Hopkins’ cap hit. While the Chiefs believed they were making progress towards a trade and a resolution on Hopkins’ 2023 earnings, Odell Beckham‘s contract with the Ravens “more or less blew that progress up.”
While the Chiefs and Bills would still be worthy suitors for Hopkins, that aforementioned OBJ deal may have already priced some teams out of the ensuing bidding war. Mike Giardi tweets that Hopkins “wants money,” and OBJ’s ability to earn more than $15MM with Baltimore hasn’t done anything to change his mind. Breer tweets that the Chiefs and Bills are probably unlikely to sign the veteran unless he drops his asking price, and even then Hopkins would have to settle of an incentive-laden deal.
Of course, money won’t be the only deciding factor when it comes to Hopkins’ landing spot. Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki tweets that the wideout also values stable management, a good defense, and a quarterback who can galvanize the squad. Yesterday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler released a list of best fits for Hopkins, with the Bills, Chiefs, Jets, Cowboys, and Saints all earning spots. The Browns, Giants, Falcons, and Patriots were listed as wild-card teams in the sweepstakes.
Either way, Hopkins won’t be able to officially sign a deal this weekend. Howard Balzer tweets that while the wideout is allowed to speak with teams, he can’t sign a contract until his name officially appears on the NFL’s personnel notice on Tuesday. Interestingly, Balzer also notes that when Hopkins hired new representation earlier this offseason, the NFLPA listed the agent as Eddie Edwards. Now, there’s no agent of record for the wideout. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the confusion is attributed to the fact that Saint Omni is “running the show” for Hopkins. Last year, the NFL warned teams not to discuss contracts with non-certified agents like Omni during the Roquan Smith negotiations.
As for the Cardinals, there were some pundits who wondered why Hopkins wasn’t designated as a post-June 1 cut, which would have spread his $22MM cap hit over the next two seasons. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe assumes (on Twitter) that the Cardinals just want to “take their lumps now,” and the reporter notes that while Arizona technically used their two allocated post-June 1 cuts, the team could have still cut Hopkins after June 2 and realized the same financial incentives.