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Cardinals reportedly were unhappy that DeAndre Hopkins sat out last two weeks of 2023

Mike Florio and Chris Simms spell out what DeAndre Hopkins’ options are for the future, after making comments about the idea of playing with Lamar Jackson “one day” and outlining what he wants in his next team.

As the Cardinals hand high-end receiver DeAndre Hopkins to any other team without compensation, some fans might not understand why the Cardinals would do that. Thus, it’s helpful to have a reason for terminating the contract -- even if the reason is only surfacing for the first time now.

Kyle Odegard, who previously worked for the team, reports that Hopkins “upset some in the Cardinals organization by sitting out the final two games of the 2022 season even though he was healthy,” and that it might have been “a sticky situation if he remained with the team until the trade deadline.”

This assumes that Hopkins even wanted to stay with the Cardinals. He clearly didn’t, and it had nothing to do with someone possibly being pissed that he didn’t play in the final two weeks of a lost regular season.

Besides, there’s a new regime in Arizona. How many who were there then are there now? The new coaching staff and new G.M. likely wouldn’t have cared about Hopkins making a business decision when business for 2022 had been resolved.

If Hopkins could indeed have played in those final two games, the team had no problem with perpetuating his lie. Before the regular-season finale, former coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hopkins might have been able to play if the game had been meaningful, that the knee injury was “something that’s been nagging him,” and that “we’re just going to be cautious.”

Really, if Hopkins was healthy, the Cardinals put out false injury reports in the final two weeks of the season.

Here’s the reality. Star players who are banged up often sit out of meaningless late-season games, especially when they have no guarantees in their salary beyond the current season. While we’re not doubting whether one or more people within the organization might have been upset with Hopkins for not playing despite the injury, the mere fact of being upset represents another piece of evidence of the dysfunction that currently permeates the organization.

The more simple explanation could be that the Cardinals need to have a reason for cutting Hopkins other than “we don’t want to pay him nearly $20 million this year,” especially if he ends up being a major difference-maker for a new team. And so they seem to be willing to throw a pointless dart at him on the way out the door.