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Arizona Cardinals release DeAndre Hopkins after three seasons

Cardinals release DeAndre Hopkins after three seasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

One of the NFL’s premier pass catchers is on the market.

The Arizona Cardinals officially released DeAndre Hopkins on Friday, ending the possibility of a trade and allowing him to become a free agent. 

Hopkins joined the organization in 2020 after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Houston Texans. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in his first season with the Cardinals but has played just 19 games over the last two years due to injuries and a six-game suspension in 2022 for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He collected 64 receptions for 717 receiving yards and three touchdowns across nine games last season. 

The 30-year-old wide receiver was involved in trade rumors throughout the offseason and mentioned the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills as specific teams he saw himself linked to.

“Obviously, of course I’ve heard a lot of rumors of people calling,” Hopkins said on a recent episode of the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast. “I would definitely say the Patriots were one of the teams. Obviously, I would say the Bills were one of those teams that I heard. I didn’t have direct conversations, but seeing what’s on Twitter, what’s on Instagram, you’ve got to pay attention to some of those things. Really, those are the only two teams that I paid attention to that I was like, ‘All right, let me see if social media’s right.’”

During the podcast, he also listed Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert as the quarterbacks he would most like to play with.

Hopkins signed a two-year, $54.5 million extension with Arizona shortly after he was traded there, putting him under contract through the 2024 season. He carries a $30.75 million cap hit in 2023, and the Cardinals will take a $22.6 million dead cap hit this year since the release is not a post-June 1 designation.

The Cardinals went 4-13 in 2022 and quarterback Kyler Murray saw his season cut short after suffering a torn ACL in December. The team landed and later traded the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and it appears it is embracing a rebuild with Murray, new head coach Jonathan Gannon and new GM Monti Ossenfort.

As for Hopkins, he gets to choose where he catches passes next.