Why Packers are so unlikely to sign WR DeAndre Hopkins
The Arizona Cardinals officially released wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday, providing the shallow free-agent market with a veteran pass-catcher who has five Pro Bowl selections and six 1,000-yard seasons on his impressive NFL resume.
The Green Bay Packers have the youngest group of pass-catchers in football and could probably use a veteran presence at wide receiver, but too many factors are working against Brian Gutekunst’s team in a hypothetical chase of Hopkins.
For starters, Hopkins wants to play on a contender. The Packers went 8-9 last season, missed the playoffs and are now transitioning at quarterback and several other positions, including receiver. The roster is talented but also young and inexperienced. The Packers aren’t even considered a favorite to win the NFC North, in large part due to trading Aaron Rodgers and going young at several roster spots.
Speaking of young and inexperienced, Jordan Love will be a first-year starting quarterback who is entering 2023 with 83 career regular-season passes. You can bet Hopkins wants to play with a veteran, proven quarterback. He doesn’t have time to wait. Love might be good in time, but he doesn’t currently fit what Hopkins is likely looking for in a passer.
If it can be safely assumed that the Packers don’t have the contending status or proven quarterback necessary to lure Hopkins, the only other asset to discuss is money, and the Packers are a cap-strapped team without many options for opening up salary cap space. This is a franchise looking to become financially healthy in the near future, and acquiring Hopkins would likely require a significant short-term investment, both in terms of guaranteed money and cap space. The Packers should have little interest in overpaying for an aging receiver.
Add it all up, and Hopkins and the Packers are a bad match. He turns 31 in June and has missed 14 games over the last two seasons, so there’s also risk involved here that the Packers might not want to take on during this post-Aaron Rodgers phase. Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur may want the young receivers to learn on the job with Love and hope the whole operation can growth together over the next few seasons.
Even if the Packers are interested in signing Hopkins, and there’s no guarantee they are, Green Bay is a very unlikely destination for the Pro Bowl receiver in 2023.