Over the past week, the DeAndre Hopkins trade talks ramped up a lot, with the receiver linked to multiple destinations. With weak free agent and rookie receiver classes, Hopkins is one of the few receivers that would immediately elevate a team’s receiving room.
In 2022, Hopkins served a six-game suspension for a violation of the league’s PED policy. He still managed a good season, however, and was excellent when on the field. Despite that, the Arizona Cardinals’ full rebuild under Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon means that trading Hopkins is the best solution now. The team can earn some draft capital and cap space while Hopkins can hunt for a Super Bowl ring.
Even though Hopkins is still an elite receiver, factors such as his cap hit, age, injuries and suspension have meant that his draft value has plummeted. At the start of the off-season, the Cardinals’ asking price was a first-round pick. That slowly slipped to being a second and fourth/fifth-round pick. And, most recently, Albert Breer revealed that the team are most likely to receive offers closer to the Brandin Cooks trade, that only netted a fifth and sixth-round selection. Part of this is because teams around the league view the trade as a ‘salary dump’ attempt. Even so, the belief is that any team that acquires Hopkins will restructure his deal.
There is no doubt that whoever lands Hopkins will be getting a top-quality receiver. Despite being 30, Hopkins has shown few signs of slowing down (aside from a higher frequency of injuries). Should a contender acquire Hopkins, he could put them over the top.
Video: "Talking to other teams around the league… Arizona will have to come off their asking price."pic.twitter.com/ELjXBRCYaN
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 25, 2023
Update on DeAndre Hopkins’ Possible Trade Destinations
Top Trade Destinations for DeAndre Hopkins
Kansas City Chiefs
As they have been from the very beginning, the Kansas City Chiefs remain the frontrunners to acquire Hopkins. Indeed, there are talks that Kansas City is in discussions to acquire both Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr., which would be an exceptional haul. Despite paying Patrick Mahomes an enormous salary, the team still have cap space to make it work. They also have the draft capital to acquire Hopkins.
Grabbing Hopkins would give Mahomes the elite wideout that he was missing last season. While Mahomes still won the MVP and the Super Bowl, why not stay aggressive in the off-season? Hopkins on the field with Travis Kelce would be a nightmare for all defenses. Mix that in with Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and maybe even Beckham Jr., and you have an overpowered and diverse offense. For Hopkins, a move to the Chiefs also gives him the best chance to win a ring.
In terms of compensation, the Chiefs would likely just give Arizona picks straight up. They have 10 picks this year and could offer the Cardinals something along the lines of pick 95 (Round 3), or pick 134 (Round 4) coupled with 178 (Round 6).
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 22, 2023
Destinations That Make Sense for DeAndre Hopkins
New York Giants
The New York Giants have been linked to Hopkins due to their desperate need for a top receiver. After re-signing Daniel Jones to a big deal, the team should look to invest in their quarterback by giving him some offensive firepower. The Giants performed well in the playoffs and adding Hopkins would only help them out.
Like the Chiefs, the Giants have 10 picks this year, allowing for a variety of different packages. They could trade pick 89 (Round 3) or a package of 128 (Round 4) and 209 (Round 6) for Hopkins.
The Tennessee Titans were one of the two teams that recently entered the Hopkins sweepstakes. Ossenfort, Arizona’s new GM, was formerly of the Titans. With Tennessee needing a new premier wideout to pair with Treylon Burks after losing A.J. Brown, Hopkins would be a prime addition. New GM Ran Carthon could also set the tone for his tenure with a blockbuster addition like an All-Pro receiver, amending the mistakes of the last regime that dealt away Brown. The Titans have made moves like this before, such as when they acquired an ageing Julio Jones for a second and fourth-round pick.
Tennessee have six picks in the 2023 NFL Draft so they may prefer to deal future picks. They do, however, have a third, fifth and sixth that could all be in play. Alongside this the team could opt to trade players. Ossenfort was part of the regime that drafted Malik Willis. If he is a fan, he could try and bring Willis to the Cardinals as the backup to Kyler Murray, who will miss the start of the season through his ACL and Meniscus rehab. Thus, Willis could also be part of the deal.
Hopkins has been linked to the Baltimore Ravens for a while now. The Ravens recently signed Nelson Agholor but desperately need more quality at the receiver position. Getting Hopkins would be huge, and it would be a significant show of support for new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Hopkins would offer a different type of skillset to the team’s current receivers too and would be particularly effective alongside tight end Mark Andrews. It is rumoured that Hopkins is also keen on Baltimore.
While the move looks great for both parties, there are barriers. Firstly, Lamar Jackson’s tense contract situation is holding the team back currently. How much cap space will they have? Are they contenders for 2023? Both of these questions hinge on the future of Jackson. As such, this negotiation ought to be resolved before acquiring Hopkins. Then there is also the issue of draft picks. Eric DeCosta only has five picks to play with this year. Can he afford to lose another one or two to acquire Hopkins? It would not suit Baltimore’s culture to throw all their chips in. However, DeCosta is in a prime position to trade down in the draft and, by acquiring picks this way, they could accommodate for a Hopkins trade.
The Buffalo Bills have slowly gained traction in the Hopkins sweepstakes over the last week. Part of this was down to Hopkins’ social media activity, linking him to Buffalo. The move would certainly put the Bills over the top. They are in win-now mode and acquiring Hopkins would be truly sensational for them. A tandem of Hopkins and Stefon Diggs for Josh Allen to throw to would make for some electric games.
The compensation from Buffalo could get interesting. The team has six picks in this year’s draft, including late third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-round picks. Coincidentally, Buffalo’s fifth came from Arizona, who acquired Cody Ford via trade last off-season. While any of those picks could be dealt, Buffalo’s cap situation suggests that they could be open to dealing a player instead. Ed Oliver and Gabe Davis are among the names to watch, both would bolster Arizona’s young roster and alleviate some of Buffalo’s cap to allow for a Hopkins trade.
#Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins' trade market headlined by #Bills, per NFL sources. Five-time Pro Bowl selection has plenty of interest on trade market, but financial expectations might impact any further interest from #Chiefs #Ravens not among bidders, per sources.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 23, 2023
A trade to the Carolina Panthers would be quite poetic for Hopkins considering he played his college ball at Clemson. It would make sense too. The Panthers have had an eventful off-season so far. They overhauled their coaching staff and traded for the number one overall pick, which included losing D.J. Moore. In light of Moore’s departure, the team is renovating their receiver room with D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen entering the fold. Adding Hopkins would significantly bolster the receiving options for the incoming rookie quarterback.
Carolina got some mid-round draft capital from trading away Christian McCaffrey. Those are the selections that could be dealt in order to acquire Hopkins.
DeAndre Hopkins Possible Trade Destinations
Alongside Tennessee, the Atlanta Falcons were the other team to enter the Hopkins sweepstakes recently. With Drake London and Kyle Pitts as the team’s top receivers currently, Hopkins would be a huge addition. He would also aid the development of Desmond Ridder greatly. The only problem with the Falcons is that, unlike most of the frontrunners for Hopkins, Atlanta are far from competing for the Super Bowl (although it is important to note that Hopkins’ no-trade clause was waived due to his suspension).
Compensation-wise, Atlanta have the cap space and draft capital to make a trade happen. With eight picks in the draft, Atlanta could deal any of their third, one of their two fourths and their fifth. Alternatively, they could try and net Hopkins in a trade-up scenario. The Falcons are in a good position to move up in the draft and, with Arizona seeking a move back, a deal involving Hopkins could make sense here.
Unlikely Destinations for DeAndre Hopkins
Do not rule out the Cardinals holding onto Hopkins. While it would be ideal for them to offload Hopkins’ huge salary and acquire some draft picks, they could always hold onto their All-Pro receiver if they do not receive any appetizing offers. Arizona are not necessarily in a rush to move Hopkins and could bide their time and wait for teams to get desperate near the trade deadline. With that said, while the draft and workouts approach, it makes sense for Arizona to try to strike a deal now.
DeAndre Hopkins is a Cardinal
Unless he demands a trade or chooses to sit out until he does, I see no reason to trade him if the value the Cardinals get in return is minimal.
If last season means anything, Hopkins is still a top 10 WR. Best WR in the trade market https://t.co/tMCAGnvyG8
— Andy Kwong 🏈 (@akwong31) March 25, 2023
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers were rumored to be interested in Hopkins at the trade deadline last year. Nothing materialized but there is clearly a history there. With Aaron Rodgers all but gone, acquiring Hopkins for Jordan Love might feel like a kick in the teeth for Rodgers fans. However, it would make sense for the team to invest in their young quarterback by giving him a high-end receiver. Green Bay’s receiving room is desperately in need of veteran quality, and Hopkins would bring that in spades.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots were heavy favorites in the Hopkins sweepstakes early on. However, such talk has since cooled. It is believed that Bill Belichick is unwilling to give Arizona the trade compensation that he wants. As such, negotiations have ended according to many pundits. A move to New England would have made some sense from a roster-building and team needs perspective. However, Hopkins’ reluctance to attend practise alongside Bill O’Brien’s return always casted doubt on Hopkins’ potential as a Patriot.
Many Chicago Bears fans still believe that the team will acquire Hopkins. However, with Moore now on board and having traded a second-round pick for Chase Claypool, any move for Hopkins seems unlikely. Moore-Mooney-Claypool is an adequate and young starting trio that will be more than capable for the ascending Bears for the upcoming season. Hopkins would be an upgrade, but a costly one for sure.
Out of the Race
Having traded for Cooks, it appears that the Dallas Cowboys are out of the race for Hopkins. They were heavily linked earlier in the off-season, but they have since moved on.
The Cleveland Browns were another team rumoured to be interested in Hopkins. This was mainly due to the appeal of reuniting Deshaun Watson with his favorite target on the Houston Texans. However, Cleveland’s acquisition of Elijah Moore likely rules out any move for Hopkins.
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