Poll: Is DeAndre Hopkins the answer to Pats’ offensive problems?
Rumor szn in the NFL offseason is upon us. The new league year begins one week from tomorrow and the clock is ticking for teams to get under the salary cap by the start of free agency next Wednesday at 4pm.
As teams look to get out from underneath bloated contracts, the latest star player to hit the trade block is Cardinals' WR DeAndre Hopkins.
The five time Pro Bowler is two years removed from his last 1000-yard season and has been limited to 19 games the last two seasons due to a combination of injuries and suspension (Hopkins missed the first six games this year while serving a PED suspension).
I know what you're thinking...an aging receiver on the wrong side of 30, who has an albatross of a contract with his best years behind him. It's partially true...partially.
The best ability is dependability. Nobody likes to preach that more than Bill Belichick. So, yes, it's accurate Hopkins has nearly missed as many games as he's played the last two years. But this season was because of the suspension before simply sitting out the last couple games after Kyler Murray had already torn his ACL, with Hopkins nursing some minor nagging injuries. For context, Hopkins missed just two games in his first seven seasons before the last two.
Despite playing 19 games the last two seasons, the production is still pretty darn good - 106rec/1289yds/11td. No, he's not your traditional burner that the Pats miss so desperately right now, but Hopkins is still one of the best in the game at finding open space within the defense to get open. That, coupled with his size (6'1"/212lbs), freakish leaping ability and overall athleticism still rank him among the best wideouts in the game.
It's his contract that's really the biggest issue at hand. Hopkins is due to make $19.45mil in cash in 2023, followed by $14.91mil in 2024. Yet his cap numbers are $30.75mil this year and $26.2mil next. But then again, what is the salary cap in the NFL if not a semi-fictitious number that NFL teams routinely manipulate? Those numbers can be converted to signing bonuses on a new deal real fast.
And let's not forget this is a wide receivers room currently comprised of DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton. At a projected open-market price of $17-$21mil per season, Jakobi Meyers likely ain't walking back through those doors in Foxborough.
Weighing out all the factors, is Hopkins worth the price for the Patriots? Or does it present too much of a risk?