NFL free agency: Best fits for WR DeAndre Hopkins in trade market
Trade conversations around Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins are reportedly getting louder, meaning the veteran wideout could be on the move soon.
The market for the soon-to-be 31-year-old has been hard to gauge. While the Cardinals reportedly want a second-round draft pick for Hopkins, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that Arizona would likely get closer to what the Houston Texans received for Brandin Cooks — the Dallas Cowboys' fifth- and sixth-round picks.
Hopkins has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since he entered the league. He ranks first in receptions, second in receiving yards and fourth in receiving touchdowns since 2013. But Hopkins played in only 19 games over the past two seasons with injuries and suspensions. He missed three games with a hamstring injury and another three with a torn MCL in 2021, was suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season after violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy and missed the final two games of the regular season with a knee injury.
His contract is also an issue. Hopkins is owed $19.45 million in 2023 and another $14.91 million in 2024 in base salary, according to Over the Cap. He reportedly is willing to renegotiate his deal if he's traded to a contender.
Hopkins proved in 2022 he can still play at a high level. Hopkins averaged 7.1 receptions per game and 11.2 yards per catch. He scored only three touchdowns, but the Cardinals as a whole finished with the sixth-fewest passing touchdowns this past season.
There is a market for Hopkins, and a couple of contenders would certainly be interested in adding a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro pass-catcher.
Buffalo is reportedly the front-runner to land Hopkins, and it makes sense.
The Bills don't have another reliable outside receiver alongside Stefon Diggs and that missing piece played a role in their divisional-round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Hopkins projects to be a fantastic 1B to Diggs' 1A for Josh Allen and could give the Bills another weapon in the ultra-competitive AFC.
New York Giants
It's no secret the Giants need a true No. 1 wideout, and general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll know the value of giving a young quarterback a potent receiver after doing the same thing in Buffalo. New York already added tight end Darren Waller and improved its depth with the re-signing of downfield threat Darius Slayton as well as adding Jamison Crowder and Parris Campbell. Hopkins would be Daniel Jones' best receiver since the QB became the Giants' starter.
Kansas City Chiefs
Why not? Despite reports that the Chiefs aren't among the suitors for Hopkins, he would make the defending champions more deadly in Kansas City's pursuit of another Super Bowl ring. The Chiefs have a hole at the position after JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman signed elsewhere in free agency. A two-headed pass-catcher attack of Hopkins and tight end Travis Kelce would push the Chiefs further ahead of the league.
A trade for Hopkins might appease Lamar Jackson and perhaps persuade him to return to Baltimore — either on his franchise tag or a new contract. The Ravens' receiving corps past Rashod Bateman is abysmal, and that's before you take Bateman's health into consideration. Hopkins would give Jackson an every-down pass-catcher who can play all over the field and help keep Baltimore's postseason dreams alive.
The addition of Hopkins would give Pittsburgh a fully fleshed-out offense with two young ascendant receivers in George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, a quality tight end in Pat Freiermuth and a powerful running back in Najee Harris. Another weapon would be a huge boon for second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett as well and give the Steelers a fighting chance in the AFC North.
Adam Thielen is gone, meaning the Vikings don't have a quality No. 2 receiver behind Justin Jefferson unless Minnesota drafts one in April. Enter Hopkins, who would complement Jefferson well and help keep the Vikings atop the NFC North. It's unclear what the Vikings' long-term plans are with quarterback Kirk Cousins (he has one year left on his deal) and running back Dalvin Cook, so trading for Hopkins could be one last shot at a title with this core.