The Arizona Cardinals have not been shy about the availability of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins since the end of the season.
The Clemson alum had a strong first year in Arizona (115 receptions, 1,407 yards, six touchdowns) but injuries and a suspension have rubbed the shine off this penny. The Cardinals have a new general manager (Monti Ossenfort), a new head coach (Jonathan Gannon) and a clean break might be best for all involved.
If Arizona does make a move to trade the 30-year-old receiver, here are three potential destinations which might make sense for the wideout:
Aside from re-signing quarterback Lamar Jackson, rebuilding the wide receivers room appears to be the top priority for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and rightfully so.
Baltimore posted the third-fewest receiving yards (3,202) and fifth-fewest receptions (300) in the NFL this past season. Former first-round pick Rashod Bateman was limited to just seven games played while Demarcus Robinson (48 receptions, 458 yards, two touchdowns), Devin Duvernay (37 receptions, 407 yards, three touchdowns) and James Proche (eight receptions, 62 yards) all left much to be desired.
If Jackson does return as the Ravens’ starting quarterback for 2023-24, handing him a weapon like Hopkins, who has logged six 1,000-yard seasons in the last nine years and posted 100 or more receptions four times, would be a nice welcome-back gift. Trading for Hopkins and potentially drafting one of Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison or Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 22nd overall pick would add some much-needed legitimacy to the Ravens passing attack.
Only two teams (Atlanta and Chicago) had worse production from their wide receivers than the Panthers did in 2022-23. Carolina’s wideouts logged a combined 153 receptions, 2,152 yards and 12 touchdowns, with nearly half of that production coming from D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson — players no longer on roster. Carolina simply cannot head into the coming season with a depth chart headed by Terrace Marshall Jr., Shi Smith and Laviska Shenault.
New head coach Frank Reich proved in Indianapolis that a top-tier receiver can have success in his system (see Michael Pittman) and Hopkins is a legitimate No. 1 receiver who could provide a nice security net for whichever quarterback the Panthers presumably draft first overall in April.
Arizona is reportedly seeking a second-round pick in return for Hopkins. After trading with the Bears to move up to No. 1 overall, the Panthers still have a second-round pick, 39th overall. An argument can be made that Hopkins is better than any receiver Carolina could take with that pick.
New England Patriots
Per oddschecker, the Patriots are tied for the second-best odds (+450) of landing Hopkins. And while New England offset the loss of Jakobi Meyers with the signing of Juju Smith-Schuster in free agency, at this stage of his career, Smith-Schuster is more of a No. 2 receiver than a bona fide No. 1.
Discounting Meyers — who is no longer on the team, anyway — there was not a Patriots receiver registered more than 35 receptions or 539 yards last season. By bringing Bill O’Brien back as offensive coordinator and rebuffing trade offers for quarterback Mac Jones, the Patriots appear to be all-in on the former No. 15 overall pick.
With the addition of a receiver of Hopkins’ caliber to pair with Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne, plus newly-signed tight ends Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry, the Pats would be setting Jones up for success in the fall.
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Publish Date:2023-03-18 08:22:35