Bengals offensive lineman Trey Hopkins has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, the club announced today. Hopkins will now be paid 3.095MM for the 2019 season.
Hopkins was one of 15 NFL restricted free agents to be tender at the second-round level, and he’s the fourth — following Steelers guard B.J. Finney, Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris, and Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley — to officially sign his tender. There was no rush for Hopkins to ink his tender, as RFAs have until April 19 to work out offer sheets with other clubs. However, it was always unlikely that any NFL team would have been willing to sacrifice a second-round pick in order to land Hopkins.
Hopkins joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2014, but didn’t see regular action until the 2017 campaign. That year, Hopkins started 12 games at right guard that ranked among the NFL’s bottom-12 teams in both run- and pass-blocking, per Football Outsiders. He initially lost his starting job at the outset of the 2018 season, but eventually played nearly 60% of Cincinnati’s offensive snaps while seeing action all along the interior offensive line.
Although he earned a better grade from Pro Football Focus than rookie first-round center Billy Price, Hopkins isn’t expected to take over at the pivot in 2019. In fact, with Clint Boling installed at left guard and free agent addition John Miller taking over on the right side, Hopkins won’t have a starting role at all. Instead, he’ll serve as a valuable depth on a front five that will be tasked with protecting Andy Dalton and clearing lanes for Joe Mixon next season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.