Currently, the only two teams who have shown mutual interest in DeAndre Hopkins are the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots. After hosting the former All-Pro wide receiver for visits on Sunday and Thursday, the sense is that the Patriots are the frontrunners right now for Hopkins, but what are the chances they can land the coveted free agent?
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 15, 2023
The Patriots Are The Frontrunners For DeAndre Hopkins
At first, the frontrunners for Hopkins would be teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, and even the Philadelphia Eagles. Now with none of those teams taking a meeting, with a few teams emphatically saying no, Hopkins had to reassess his position on what he needed to do to find a team. It wasn’t that nobody was going to sign him, but he had to show he was willing not to ring chase or front run.
— Green Light with Chris Long (@greenlight) June 15, 2023
Hopkins said what he was looking for in a team a few weeks back on the I Am Athlete podcast. “Great management, a QB who loves the game, and a great defense.” Well, the New England Patriots have that. Although he took a visit with the Titans, they appear to be on a downwards trajectory. Going from back-to-back division championships and making the playoffs four out of six years to now a team with a new front office, no clue who the quarterback will be, and a suspect defense.
Patriots & Hopkins Seem To Be A Perfect Fit
The Patriots have a top defense in the NFL. They have an excellent management group. Lastly the have a quarterback who loves being out on the field. Hopkins has played with sixteen different quarterbacks in his ten years in the NFL, and if he joins the Patriots, you could argue that Mac Jones would be the second-best quarterback he has played with, but he would easily be top three. The point is that Hopkins has been so efficient throughout his career and has played mostly with below-average to average quarterbacks. This would be no foreign territory for the 31-year-old.
From what reports came out yesterday about the visit to Foxboro, all of them were positive. Many reporters said that the Patriots could not let him walk out the door without signing a contract. Still there is no rush to sign for Hopkins. Really there is no real rush for the Patriots to sign him either. The Patriots have already cleared some cap space to sign him with the release of James Robinson, and with OTA’s and mini camps coming to an end soon, it was unlikely the Hopkins would even report before training camp. Hopkins also should take his time because he can make the best decision for himself and does not have to participate in the off-season program. This would not affect his ability to pick up the Patriots’ playbook because his former head coach with the Texans, Bill O’Brien, is New England’s offensive coordinator. So learning the playbook would not be so difficult for him.
Hopkins Had A Long Talk With Bill Belichick
Hopkins also had an extensive one on one meeting with Bill Belichick yesterday as well during his visit. The meeting was less about football and more about whether the two parties would be a good match. Belichick and Hopkins already have a prior relationship; both have spoken highly of each other in the past. There is the infamous clip of them talking before last year’s Monday Night Football game. If their long meeting suggested anything, both parties seemed more than interested in making things work. You don’t keep someone in with the boss for a job interview for over an hour unless there is serious consideration for the position—the same plays for free agents in sports.
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) June 16, 2023
What This Fit Could Mean
This also would help the Patriots close the gap in the AFC East. They are looked at as the doormat of the division right now. DeAndre Hopkins would come in and make an immediate impact on this Patriots team. Mac Jones would finally have his number one receiver so that excuse would go out the window. The Patriots offense, which was their Achilles heel last year, has already improved drastically on paper, and this signing would also make the team better.
"There’s still a level of optimism the two sides could reach an agreement." pic.twitter.com/SFtGYh2GYz
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 15, 2023
Hopkins is also looking to prove he can still be the top receiver in football. Missing games due to injury and suspensions the last two years. Hopkins was known for his durability, only missing two games in eight seasons. In the previous two years, he’s missed fifteen games. So he’s looking to revitalize himself with a change of scenery. Overall, Hopkins signing with the Patriots would be beneficial for both sides. I would say that it’s as close to a done deal as it could be right now.
Main Photo: Michael Chow – USA Today Sports