DeAndre Hopkins is a free agent for the first time in his career after being released by the Cardinals on Friday. While many of the NFL’s 32 teams would love to have his services, only a handful will be realistic in the mix.
On podcast this week, the All-Pro wide receiver listed five quarterbacks he would like to play with: Jalen Hurts, Eagles; Lamar Jackson, Ravens; Josh Allen, Bills; Justin Herbert, loaders; and Patrick Mahomes, chefs. There were also reports of the The Patriots tried to trade for Hopkins earlier this year.
How realistic is Hopkins with these six teams? Could they find room under the salary cap for a piece to push them to the top? What will Hopkins prioritize in team selection? Our beatwriters chat.
The Bills checked on Hopkins’ situation earlier in the offseason, but that’s about where it ended. The fit is clear, giving them a legitimate top three in Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Hopkins. It would be a great swing. But many things have changed since then. The Bills moved on to draft Dalton Kincaid with their first-round pick, with the idea of using him in a potential third receiver role. They also signed Deonte Harty and Trent Sherfield in the offseason and remain optimistic about Khalil Shakir’s future.
Although Hopkins would help, it could reduce the dynamic and unpredictable offense the Bills had this offseason. Additionally, the Bills’ cap situation went from bad to worse. They only have $1.4 million and would probably need to restructure a few contracts to make it work. General manager Brandon Beane was too reluctant to do so. If Hopkins wants to sign cheaply, the Bills would likely be more open to the idea. However, never say never when a team is chasing a championship. — Joe Buscaglia
The Chargers still have a spot on their roster. But they’re pretty tight against the ceiling, and installing another high-priced receiver in their foil seems unlikely at this point. To even consider signing Hopkins, the Chargers would have to structure the deal the same way the Ravens structured Odell Beckham’s one-year contract, which has four void years. However, going that route would only create more cap problems for the Chargers next offseason. They are currently $60 million over the cap for 2024, according to OverTheCap.
The Chargers also don’t have much flexibility to create more immediate space, as they already restructured four of their biggest contracts — Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack — earlier this offseason.
Financially, it doesn’t make much sense for the Chargers to sign Hopkins. It also doesn’t make much sense from a list building perspective. They just signed wide receiver Quentin Johnston with their first-round pick. Signing Hopkins would only take significant reps and snaps away from Johnston, a relatively raw prospect who needs that time on the pitch to develop. — Daniel Popper
The Eagles no need DeAndre Hopkins, given their combination of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith, is among the best in the NFL and both control a significant percentage of the target share. Add to that the presence of tight end Dallas Goedert, and Hopkins could almost certainly find a spot where he’s higher on the offensive priority list — and potentially a spot that pays him more. But if Hopkins wants to play Hurts and wants a high-powered offense that has a legitimate chance of winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles would fit the profile. They also lack top-end depth at the position, with Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus serving as No. 3 and 4 receivers. What if Brown goes down? What happens if Smith breaks down?
There’s a fantasy football element to this conversation, although the Eagles have shown a willingness to face top veterans who could chase rings. Any serious interest would require understanding how Hopkins would fit in with Brown and Smith, given that they are grassroots players in Philadelphia. But when a team is as ready for the Lombardi Trophy as the Eagles, never say never about adding available talent. — Zach Berman
The Ravens did their due diligence on Hopkins earlier this offseason and ultimately backed off for a myriad of reasons, including the Cardinals’ asking price and Baltimore’s tight salary cap situation. Obviously, the first no longer applies. Still, a lot has changed since the Ravens originally threw the tires on Hopkins. The Ravens added veteran receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor and drafted Zay Flowers in the first round. Those three joined a passing group that also returns receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay and tight ends Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson would be more than happy to make room for Hopkins. However, the Ravens still have limited cap space and they’ve already invested a ton of money in future caps. There are many mouths to feed on their offense as it is. General manager Eric DeCosta likes to be in the mix of talented veteran players, but he’s fair to be skeptical that Hopkins fits the Ravens’ “right player, right price” mantra. — Jeff Zrebiec
The problem for the chiefs is the lack of money to pay it. The Chiefs entered Friday with just $652,557 in salary cap space, the second-lowest number in the league, according to OverTheCap.
The most logical way for the Chiefs to move forward – if they want to go into the Hopkins draft – would be to sign superstar defensive tackle Chris Jones to a lucrative contract extension, which should do making him one of the highest paid in the league. defenders. By doing so, the team could create additional salary cap space for the upcoming season.
If the Chiefs choose not to be aggressive in pursuing Hopkins, which was the result with Odell Beckham Jr., the decision would be the latest example from coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach that they believe the superstar quarterback Mahomes can continue to help elevate receivers like Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. — Nate Taylor
The Patriots were one of the teams that explored trading for Hopkins in March, then didn’t make a significant addition to their front room in the offseason, simply trading Jakobi Meyers for JuJu Smith-Schuster. So this group could use the kind of boost that Hopkins always provides. We know Bill Belichick has an affinity for Hopkins after the coach praised the receiver last season, saying, “I think he’s just as good as anyone I’ve ever coached against. “
If the Pats are able to land Hopkins, their receivers could suddenly be a force for an offense that was often stuck in the mud last season. They could deploy Hopkins as the No. 1 outside receiver with Smith-Schuster in the slot and DeVante Parker or Tyquan Thornton across from Hopkins. This could greatly help Mac Jones improve. One of the only potential setbacks to this plan? The Pats have Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator, the coach who helped Hopkins leave Houston in 2020. — Chad Graff
(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)