Titans Sign DeAndre Hopkins

JULY 24: The Hopkins deal is now official, per a team announcement. Attention will turn to his individual performances given the threshold for his incentives, and his role in elevating Tennessee’s passing attack in their bid to become more productive through the air.

JULY 16, 3:24pm: Details of Hopkins’ incentives have come in, via Rapoport (Twitter link). The veteran will earn the maximum $3MM available in each of the two seasons of the pact if he records at least 95 catches, 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns. Six-figure incentives are available at lower thresholds in all three of those categories, giving Hopkins plenty of reasons to attempt a return to his All-Pro form.

1:04pm: The lengthy free agent process for DeAndre Hopkins is set to come to an end soon. The All-Pro wideout has agreed to a deal with the Titans, as first reported by Doug Kyed of A to Z Sports (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that it is a two-year, $26MM deal with a maximum value of $32MM. He will earn a base salary of $12MM this year, with the potential to see $3MM more via incentives.

Kyed adds that the deal is expected to be finalized in the coming days. Presuming that takes place without issue, the Titans will have completed a signficant addition to their receiving corps as they look to take a needed step forward in the passing game in 2023. Hopkins (who was thought to be seeking the $15MM per year Odell Beckham Jr. received from the Ravens this offseason) had been on the open market since his release from the Cardinals in late May, setting up a high-profile summer free agency.

The 31-year-old floated the names of a number of young quarterbacks he would be interested in playing with even before his time in Arizona officially came to an end, and AFC powers Buffalo and Kansas City were frequently linked to him. Hopkins was reportedly waiting for the Chiefs to free up cap space via a Chris Jones extension, while the Bills remained on the radar. It was clear the latter team would not be willing to engage in a bidding war to land him, however. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes (via Twitter) that Kansas City remained in touch, but their limited cap space made them a non-player in this situation.

Hopkins ultimately visited only two teams – the Patriots and Titans – before patiently waiting to see how his market developed. Both New England and Tennessee represented somewhat surprising destinations given his public affinity for quarterbacks other than Mac Jones and Ryan Tannehill, but each team was sufficiently impressed after his visits to make an offer. As of earlier this month, the Titans remained confident in their ability to acquire the five-time Pro Bowler.

The news marks a return to the AFC South for Hopkins, who spent the first seven years of his career in Houston. He recorded five 1,000-yard seasons during that span, but managed to replicate that feat only once in his three Cardinals campaigns. Injuries and a PED suspension cost him time over the past two seasons, but his production (64 catches, 717 yards) in nine games last season demonstrated his continued ability to operate as a N0. 1 receiver. He will look to assume that role in Tennessee, a team which lacks proven contributors elsewhere in its pass-catching corps.

2022 first-rounder Treylon Burks had a lackluster rookie season as the Titans struggled to find production through the air at the start of the post A.J. Brown era. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Kyle Phillips and Chris Moore represent the other main options on the WR depth chart, one which now has far more pedigree with Hopkins in place. His presence should help Tannehill in a 2023 season filled with questions about his future with the team.

Hopkins will also be reunited with offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, after the pair spent time together with the Texans. Expectations will be high for the former given his decision to accept the most lucrative offer made, and for the Titans as they look to return to the postseason. New general manager Ran Carthon‘s first major move on the open market has certainly boosted the team’s chances of doing so.

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