DeAndre Hopkins becoming 'needle-mover' for Patriots as trade price drops

Curran: Hopkins trade looking more amenable as trade price drops originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's not always smart business to spend considerable resources on big-name wide receivers -- especially if you have a history of not getting the best out of those receivers.

But what if the resources spent weren't considerable?

That could be the case with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that the Cardinals initially were seeking a "second-round pick and another asset" for Hopkins, but that Arizona now should expect to fetch a lesser haul -- perhaps closer to the return that Dallas got for Brandin Cooks (a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick).

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During an appearance Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition, Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran -- who was initially out on the idea of New England trading for Hopkins -- admitted he's starting to change his mind if Hopkins can be had for the right price.

"I am slowly but surely coming around on the notion of DeAndre Hopkins," Curran said, as seen in the video above. "... The notion of DeAndre Hopkins is more of a needle-mover than it was to me as the price continues to drop. Because to me, if you prorate his numbers -- he only played five games with Kyler Murray and one was one series -- he basically would have had a 121-catch, (1,300)-yard season with like (six) touchdowns.

"Would he have done that over a full season? I don't know. But, he would change things. And if (the price tag) is not insane and you've afforded yourself the cap space? OK, get DeAndre Hopkins."

While Hopkins will turn 31 in June, he's still an elite receiver. He racked up 64 receptions, 717 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games last season and is two seasons removed from a 115-catch, 1,407-yard campaign in 2020. Even with JuJu Smith-Schuster added in free agency, he'd still be the Patriots' clear No. 1 wide receiver.

Hopkins also played the best football of his career in Houston under current Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. While Hopkins left Houston on poor terms with O'Brien, the wideout since has said there's no bad blood between the two, and from a football perspective, there's evidence that O'Brien can get the most out of the five-time Pro Bowler.

Hopkins carries a $ 30.8 million cap hit for 2023, so the Patriots would need to re-work his contract or make other significant moves to get him under the salary cap. But if the goal is to return to relevance in the AFC, New England needs more firepower -- and Hopkins would provide it.