The Arizona Cardinals released three-time All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday. His feature with the organization has been up in the air since the end of last season because of his nearly $31 million cap hit. That ranked among the highest of all wide receivers in the league and in the top ten in all of the NFL.
The Cardinals will take a cap hit of over $22.5 million, even though they will save nearly $8.2 million in cap space this yea . The 30-year-old wide receiver was under contract with the team through the 2024 season.
The word was swirling around Hopkins for the past few months about being traded, but during the NFL draft, he was not ealt. At that time, it appeared the Cardinals were proceeding forward with Hopkins on the roster.
Hopkins has had the lowest drop rate in the NFL over the past three seasons, mishandling only three of 315 argets. He had 221 catches for 2696 yards and 17 tou hdowns. Despite missing the first six games last season due to a violation of the NFL’s performing enhancing drug policy, Hopkins still led the Cardinals with 717 receiving yards and 64 receptions.
The Cardinals wide receiver group will move forward with Marquise Brown, Greg Dortch, and Rondale Moore, who combined for 160 catches for nearly 1600 yards.
Hopkins was traded from the Houston Texans to the Cardinals in March 2020, along with a fourth- ound pick. The Texans received a second-round pick in 2020, a fourth-round pick in 2021, and running back David Johnso in return. Johnson rushed for only 919 yards in two seasons with Houston and 24 yards on 12 carries in five games with the Saints last season.
Hopkins, who has made five Pro Bowl appearances and has four seasons with at least 100 receptions, has plenty left n the tank. Despite skipping the Cardinals’ voluntary workouts this month, Hopkins has reportedly been in Toronto working out.
Where does Hopkin land next? An intriguing and scary scenario for NFL defensive coordinators would be if he lands in P iladelphia. Although less likely than the top contenders for Hopkins, an offense with Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Hopkins would be the most potent in the NFL.
The most likely landing spot for Hopkins would be either the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, or New York Giants.
Buffalo appears to be the most likely, considering that Hopkins indicated he’d be willing to play there and listed Josh Allen as one of the quarterbacks he’d like to play with.
The Panthers drafted quarterback Bryce Young and added running back Miles Sanders and wide receiver A am Thielen. Hopkins, added to the mix, could propel the Panthers to a division crown.
The Lions are favorites to win the NFC North and already have two talented receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown and Mar n Jones Jr. The Giants lack a true number-one receiver, making Hopkins an attra tive option. Bill Belichick could pursue Hopkins, but Hopkins wasn’t thrilled about the idea of being traded to New England.
No matter which team lands Hopkins, he will immediately bolster their offense and make them a playoff or title contender.
While the Cardinals’ release of Deandre Hopkins is significant, there’s also considerable buzz around quarterback Derek Carr signing with the Saints.