5 best fits for DeAndre Hopkins
After months of speculation about a possible trade involving former Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the five-time Pro Bowler is now free to sign where he wants following his release Friday.
While he hasn't produced at the levels we're accustomed to seeing over the last two seasons, the soon-to-be 31-year-old should still have enough left in the tank to be a factor at his next destination.
Here are the best fits for Hopkins:
Kansas City Chiefs
Let's get the most obvious landing spot out of the way first. If Hopkins is looking for the best opportunity to put up big numbers, increase his value, and collect a Super Bowl ring, he won't find a better spot than the Chiefs.
While Patrick Mahomes already has a top target in star tight end Travis Kelce, his receiving corps is headlined by Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney. Neither player has ever exceeded 700 receiving yards in a season. Behind them are young, unproven pieces like Rashee Rice and Skyy Moore. This unit could use an established veteran receiver like Hopkins, especially after losing JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency.
Kansas City has just over $1 million in cap space, per Spotrac, which could hinder them if a potential Hopkins chase comes down to money. But joining Mahomes, who Hopkins listed earlier this month as one of the five quarterbacks he'd like to play with, would be a rewarding move for both sides.
Another one of the signal-callers the former Cardinals receiver said he'd like to suit up with, Josh Allen throwing passes to Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Hopkins would be a weekly spectacle. It may even give the Bills enough firepower to finally get over their postseason demons.
Buffalo makes a lot of sense for the aging Hopkins after injuries hindered him in recent seasons. He won't have to be relied on as the No. 1 target with Diggs in the fold, while Davis will also get his fair share of attention. However, it'll be tough for opposing defenses to cover everyone, which should leave plenty of room for Hopkins to operate. The Bills' depth behind Diggs and Davis also lacks experience.
If the Bills intend to break through the AFC's glass ceiling that is the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, forming a three-headed receiving corps with Hopkins could only help their odds.
Deshaun Watson didn't look like the $230-million man the Browns are paying him to be in his first season in Cleveland. Partnering Watson with his former teammate might be the antidote to restoring the quarterback's form.
Watson and Hopkins were arguably one of the most dangerous partnerships in the NFL during their three years together with the Houston Texans. From 2017-19, Hopkins collected three first-team All-Pro selections while ranking first in the league in receiving touchdowns (31), second in receptions (315), and third in receiving yards (4,115).
Cleveland's receiver room is crowded with names such as Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, among others. Given the front office's all-in approach on 2023 plus the known ties to Watson, it might be wise for the Browns to find room for Hopkins.
New York Giants
The Giants may not necessarily have the quarterback Hopkins is looking for, but arguably no team on this list could use a capable receiver like Hopkins more than New York.
Daniel Jones, who recently inked a four-year deal worth $160 million, is coming off a breakout 2022 campaign in which his leading receivers were Darius Slayton, Richie James, and Isaiah Hodgins. A major weakness last year, the Giants improved their receiver shortage this offseason by welcoming Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, and Jalin Hyatt. Still, that's nothing to write home about. With New York now in the business of making sure Jones matches his price tag, getting a true alpha wideout like Hopkins could be the missing piece to a transformed offense under Brian Daboll. Plus, Hopkins would receive little competition in his bid to be the top wideout on the team.
New York Jets
The Jets have a short championship window to maximize after acquiring four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. If they really want to extract everything from it, giving Hopkins a call is a no-brainer.
Hopkins would likely have to be OK with a reduced target share and workload if he came to New York. Though, at his age, that might be a wise decision. The Jets already have an emerging star in Garrett Wilson, and they also signed Allen Lazard to a lucrative deal this offseason. But there's still room for another boundary receiver, and Hopkins would be a clear upgrade over the easily-cuttable Corey Davis, who's averaged only 514 yards per season with New York.
A strong quarterback and great defense were two of Hopkins' three characteristics for a future team. Having Rodgers and a defensive unit that ranked fourth in points allowed last year fills those requirements.