Rumors that star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins could be available on the trade market have grown since the NFL Combine kicked off last week, and Hopkins himself has started to pay attention.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of trade talks,” Hopkins said on the “Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday. “We’ve been keeping our head down. Obviously paying attention to the headlines and tabloids and stuff like that, because you got to.”
Buzz really picked up that Hopkins could be on the move last Tuesday, when Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon didn’t exactly go out of their way to quiet the noise. In fact, Gannon was frank when asked if he believed Hopkins would be on the Cardinals roster for the 2023 season.
"I'm not sure," Gannon said. "We are looking at evaluating everyone. I know this: he's a premier receiver you have to have a plan for.”
“I’ve had a conversation with DeAndre and DeAndre’s representative,” said Ossenfort. “Those have been very productive conversations. I’ve watched from afar the last 10 years or whatever it’s been with DeAndre and have been on teams that have had to compete against him. I’ve seen the player that DeAndre is and what he can do on the field. He’s tough to defend. So I’m glad he’s on the team.
“And I think with him, or as it goes to any player, those are situations that we’ll address as they come up. But I’m glad DeAndre is on the team right now, and I’m happy to be on the same team with him.”
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Hopkins has learned from experience, that when talk like this picks up it can be wise for a player to pay attention.
“You know, when you hear some of those trade rumors, you hate to think that all those things are lies,” Hopkins said. “ I’ve been traded before. Heard speculation about it and kind of shooed it off. I was like, ‘Nah the Texans would never trade me.’ Then next thing you know, here I am going to the Cardinals, so we’re keeping close attention to the tabloids, but we don’t put anything in the tabloids ourself. DeAndre Hopkins gonna do what DeAndre Hopkins do when I’m on the field, and that’s all that matters.”
Bears fans have dreamed of Ryan Poles making a big time move to acquire a stud wide receiver, whether it be trading for Tee Higgins, or hoping Keenan Allen becomes a salary cap casualty. All those dreams have been dashed over the past couple weeks, so maybe Hopkins can be the new object of their affection?
Hopkins is still under contract for two more seasons, and is set to carry a $30.75 million cap hit in 2023 and a $26.2 million hit in 2024. Some believe trade rumors for Hopkins are a last ditch effort for the Cardinals to recoup some value for the wide receiver, and they may cut him to save cash.
The Cardinals must decide how they want to move forward with a young, underachieving roster. The team had high hopes for their 2022 season after trading for Marquise Brown to pair with Hopkins at receiver. But Kyler Murray was hurt for a good portion of the season, and didn’t play particularly well when he was healthy. The Cardinals finished the year with a 4-13 record.
Hopkins missed the first six games of last season to serve a PED suspension, and the last two games with a knee injury, but when he played he was as impactful as ever. He finished the 2022 season with 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. Hopkins will turn 31 this summer and has 10 years of NFL experience. Over his career, Hopkins has 853 receptions for 11,298 yards and 71 touchdowns.