The bottom of the NFC West might have gotten a whole lot closer to the top of the division on Monday.
Dynamic Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray already had the steady services of veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald. On Monday, the Cardinals added one of the top playmaking wide receivers in the game.
Former Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is coming to the NFC West to terrorize defensive backs in the Pacific Time Zone.
Hopkins and a fourth-round pick were traded Monday to Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick this year and a fourth-round pick next year, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain reported.
DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth round pick go to Cards for David Johnson and a second round pick this year and a fourth round pick next year.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 16, 2020
The Cardinals finished last in the division last season with a 5-10-1 record with Murray at quarterback as a rookie. Arizona invested the No. 1 overall pick of the draft in Murray, allowing the 49ers to select Nick Bosa with the second pick.
The 49ers won the NFC West last season with a 13-3 record, followed by the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) and Los Angeles Rams (9-7).
The 49ers’ pass rush likely will be the team’s plan for dealing with explosive passing attacks. The 49ers on Monday agreed to terms with free-agent-to-be Arik Armstead on a five-year contract that could average as much as $17 million a season.
Armstead led the 49ers last season with 10 sacks during the regular season. Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa and Dee Ford provide the 49ers with a top-level defensive line and the strength of the team.
The 49ers’ pass defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season, due mostly to the team’s pass rush that made it difficult for quarterbacks to deliver the ball down the field.
The addition of Hopkins gives the Cardinals and Murray one of the best in the game at his job.
Hopkins, 27, a seven-year pro, registered 1,000-yard receiving seasons in five of the past six seasons. In his career, Hopkins has averaged more than 90 receptions for nearly 1,230 yards and eight touchdowns.
The 49ers might feel the need to increase their competition and depth at cornerback at the prospect of going up against Hopkins and Fitzgerald twice a season.
Richard Sherman, 31, who was selected to the Pro Bowl last season, enters the final year of his contract. Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon enter the offseason as the top cornerbacks on the other side.