Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to hear in May: DeAndre Hopkins is a free agent. Here’s something you also (probably) won’t hear: Hopkins is signing with the Rams.
The Arizona Cardinals shockingly released the All-Pro receiver on Friday after failing to trade him, eating $22.6 million in dead money by doing so. It’s a similar move to the one the Rams made when they released Leonard Floyd this offseason, eating $19 million in dead money this year just to free up space in 2024.
As fun as it would be to see Hopkins lined up alongside Cooper Kupp, the Rams are not going to sign him. Doing so would go completely against everything they’ve done this offseason. All they’ve tried to do is free up cap space for next offseason and rid themselves of large, costly contracts by parting ways with star veterans: Floyd, Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Allen Robinson.
We have released Deandre Hopkins. pic.twitter.com/POnAb3uhWH
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) May 26, 2023
Signing Hopkins would be the complete opposite of their current remodeling strategy. Not to mention, it’s hard to see Hopkins wanting to sign with a team that’s not expected to make the playoffs this season.
He even said on a recent podcast that he wants to go to a team with a great defense, which the Rams don’t currently have – even with Aaron Donald at defensive tackle.
He also listed five quarterbacks he’d like to play for, none of which were Matthew Stafford. He picked Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert. All five of their teams would make more sense as a landing spot for Hopkins than the Rams would.
And then there’s the financial part. Hopkins had a $19.45 million base salary in 2023 before being cut. He probably won’t get that much on his new contract in free agency considering no team wanted to trade for him and take on that deal, but he’ll still command a deal in the range of Odell Beckham Jr.’s, which came with $15 million guaranteed.
That’s too much for the Rams to pay another wide receiver. They already have cap hits of $27.8 million for Kupp and a $21.45 million dead cap charge for Robinson in 2023. They’re not adding another wideout with a $15-plus million cap hit.
They don’t even have the room to make that happen, currently sitting on $1.76 million in cap space before even signing their draft class. Sure, they could restructure a big contract to create space, but again, that goes against everything the Rams have done this offseason. They’re trying to create cap room in 2024, not lessen it – which is what a restructure would do.
The Rams probably aren’t interested in Hopkins and it’s hard to imagine him being interested in them. Sorry, folks.