The Arizona Cardinals are in the midst of an organizational makeover, meaning they could move core talent like DeAndre Hopkins. After a tour de force 2023 NFL Draft, general manager Monti Ossenfort is creating a new footprint in the desert. The next task is finding out who are, and are not, fits for the new regime.
This off-season, the Cardinals must determine what to do with wide receiver Hopkins. The 2013 Houston Texans first-round pick has been the subject of trade rumors since the season ended. For Arizona, is he a wide receiver to keep as a bridge to some of the younger talent, or a player to trade for more future draft capital?
In 2024, the Cardinals have 11 total draft picks, with two in the first round alone. They also have one selection in the second round and another three picks in the third. On Day 3, they have two fourth-round picks (including a projected compensatory pick), two fifth-round picks and a seventh.
Hopkins has said he will be a Cardinal in 2023. However, with all signs pointing toward the future, why would the organization not try to score more trade capital? Granted, trying to move a 31-year-old receiver whose recent production has dipped could be a tough sell. But, if Arizona hangs onto him until a playoff-ready team has an injury, Ossenfort knows he has an ace in the hole with Hopkins.
Hopkins was acquired by Arizona before the 2020 season to help Kyler Murray in former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. In Kingsbury’s last season, there were only a few bright spots for the ex-Clemson Tiger. In 2022, Hopkins had 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns. Murray looked to the veteran a lot, whose acrobatics saved more than a few errant throws.
Looking at the Dollars and Cents Behind Cardinals Moving DeAndre Hopkins
As with everything in the NFL, money is the challenge. Via CBS Sports, former Cardinals general manager, Steve Keim, said the problem is Hopkins’ current contract. Hopkins was his own agent in his last contract negotiation. He managed to persuade Arizona to him a substantial two-year extension. The value of that extension was for over $54 million, effectively resetting the market at the receiver position.
In 2023, the Cardinals are scheduled to pay Hopkins a base salary of $19,450,000. The 2024 season will cost $14,915,000. According to spotrac.com, Hopkins’ 2023 base salary of $19,450,000 includes a cap hit of $30,750,000 and a dead cap value of $22,600,000.
Why DeAndre Hopkins Remains an Attractive Proposition
A 31-year-old receiver is not a taboo matter in the NFL. Big names like Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter and Tim Brown combined for 27 Pro-Bowl appearances. All were between the ages of 30 and 35 yrs of age.
Hopkins would be an attractive trade target for more than a few teams close to making a Super Bowl run. The Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Giants could all use his services this coming season. They all have room for a ‘luxury’ receiver like Hopkins.
As of May 3, all signs point to Hopkins staying in the desert. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport indicated the time to move the veteran receiver was during the NFL Draft. But not finding a suitable deal could mean that he remains with the Cardinals in 2023.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 3, 2023
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