DeAndre Hopkins Landing Spots: Cowboys, Patriots, and Ravens Should Trade for Star

The Arizona Cardinals are open to trading WR DeAndre Hopkins. Here are six teams that should consider trading for him.

Get ready for a busy NFL offseason that sees more stars trading franchises. The NFL rumor mill started as soon as the regular season came to a close, as the Arizona Cardinals are expected to make All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins available via trade. This isn’t surprising news considering the state of the Cardinals’ franchise.

With Kyler Murray likely to miss at least part of 2023, Arizona hiring a new general manager and head coach, cap-strapped after years of roster mismanagement, and a relatively poor set of foundational pieces, the Cardinals should be selling off veterans this offseason.

They need to rebuild for 2024 and beyond, with Murray locked up on a long-term deal. Trading Hopkins would sting, but it’s the best time to maximize his value. It was reported that Hopkins’ no-trade clause has been voided due to the PED suspension he served in 2022, making a deal easier to find.

Value of DeAndre Hopkins Trade

Hopkins’ value may not be overly high despite his impressive talent. He turns 31 this offseason and will need a new contract for 2023 since he’s out of guaranteed money on his deal. A new deal can be advantageous for the team as well since they can spread out his massive cap numbers of $30.75 million in 2023 and $26.215 million in 2024.

Arizona might get a Day 2 pick out of Hopkins, or they could get a Day 3 pick as Dallas received for Amari Cooper last offseason. It’ll be a tough trade for Arizona to swallow, but they’d clear $8.15 million in 2023 and $14.9 million in 2024 with a trade prior to June 1, 2023.

Let’s dive into the six teams that should trade for the four-time Pro Bowler.

6 Teams That Should Trade for DeAndre Hopkins

New England Patriots

Simply put: the Patriots haven’t had a true star receiver since Randy Moss was on the roster from 2007-2009. New England was able to get by with quarterback Tom Brady elevating good but not great playmakers, but second-year QB Mac Jones hasn’t been able to attain the same feat. Jones needs help, and head coach Bill Belichick’s appreciation for Hopkins is no secret.

The timing is perfect for the Patriots to aggressively pursue offensive upgrades. They wisely brought in Bill O’Brien as the offensive coordinator to revamp their benign unit first, and now, New England has the ability to spend what’s necessary to surround Jones with more impactful pieces. That could include re-signing Jakobi Meyers and trading for Hopkins.

Hopkins is still a highly-effective player who figures to age well, given that his game is based on technique over explosiveness. He matched his career yards per game rate in the nine games he played in 2022 (he was suspended six games for PED usage). He also ranked sixth in dominator rating, fifth in total route win rate, seventh in win rate against man coverage, and fourth in target share.

Hopkins is still a star, and his versatility to play from the slot or as an outside receiver is a critical piece of his value. With him added and Meyers retained, the Patriots could unveil a top-three receiver room that also prominently features Tyquan Thornton. That would be a much more suitable surrounding cast for Jones to develop with.

Dallas Cowboys

There’s no question the Cowboys were left hurting without Cooper this season. The decision to dump him to Cleveland for a Day 3 pick to open cap space they didn’t use was a bad one. They can rectify their need for another top playmaker with Hopkins.

Hopkins and CeeDee Lamb are similar in their ability to win at the catch point and line up all over the field. With Kellen Moore no longer the OC, it’s critical Dallas has guys who can win 1-on-1. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and new OC Brian Shottenheimer weren’t known for creative, scheme-driven offenses in their previous workplaces, so I doubt we’ll see anything too complicated in 2023.

Quarterback Dak Prescott will be in a tough position if Dallas doesn’t invest into studs around him, which is also a tough pill to swallow considering the team’s spending at running back and along the offensive line. There’s not a clearly great path moving forward for this team to compete and cut costs at the same time.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott may take a significant pay cut, but losing Tony Pollard would be painful. So it’s possible they’re still allocating more than $10 million to the position in 2023. Michael Gallup stunk in 2022 as he continued to recover from a torn ACL the previous season, and he has a $13.8 million cap hit in 2023.

Adding Hopkins only further bloats the bill for the offense. But he’s the best, most attainable option for Dallas.

They can carve out enough room for Hopkins with a few moves. Extending Prescott and Hopkins long-term can lower Dallas’ immediate cap hits. Restructuring Demarcus Lawrence and Zack Martin also makes sense as foundational pieces for the franchise.

Chicago Bears

Chicago may not feel as though a receiver is as big of a need as outsiders, considering their shockingly bad decision to trade their own second-round pick for 18 months of Chase Claypool before the trade deadline. But Claypool is a project who produces in spurts. The Bears need a consistently good player to help Justin Fields progress in 2023.

Hopkins is a tremendous candidate to be that guy. His presence would push Darnell Mooney into the WR2 spot as the deep threat and Claypool into more of a splash player, where he belongs. This is a much more well-rounded rotation compared to any other option Chicago has, barring Tee Higgins coming available.

The thought of investing another pick into a veteran receiver is difficult, though. Chicago was foolish to give up their own second-round pick — which ended up being No. 33 overall — for Claypool after they knew they’d get Baltimore’s second-rounder for Roquan Smith.

Alas, Chicago has easily the most cap space in the NFL, so if they can get Hopkins for considerably less in terms of draft capital, they should do it. Helping Fields at all costs is justifiable.

Indianapolis Colts

Another team that has for far too long avoided investing heavily in the receiving room is the Colts. General manager Chris Ballard tried to rely upon young talent and role players to become viable top playmakers, but it simply hasn’t worked out. Michael Pittman Jr. is a solid starter, but Alec Pierce and Parris Campbell aren’t consistent enough to count on.

Ballard is back for 2023, and he knows it’s time to win. One way to help their eventual new quarterback is to spend some of the money Indianapolis can create by releasing Matt Ryan and restructuring contracts. With a weak crop of free agent receivers, trading for Hopkins would make the offense more dynamic.

It would be a forward move from a regime that’s generally been averse to being so aggressive. However, the Colts have a team that seemed to lose its fire last year. Acquiring Hopkins would hurt their cap flexibility, but if Indianapolis is going to rely on a rookie QB, it’s better to invest in supporting playmakers while you can.

An offensive corps of Hopkins, Pittman, and Jonathan Taylor is a formidable one if the Colts’ defense and offensive line can get back to the level we expected in 2022. This is a roster otherwise good enough to win the AFC South and become a bigger threat. But they need someone like Hopkins to round out their personnel.

New head coach Shane Steichen just came from a situation with two talented receivers and an effective running game, so I expect he’d be very interested in beefing up his playmaking corps.

Baltimore Ravens

Everyone has been harping on the Ravens to acquire a star-level receiver for years. Despite this, Baltimore traded WR Marquise Brown to Arizona for a first-round pick last year, then opted against bolstering the league’s weakest receiving room. It’s not a surprise the Ravens’ passing game again ranked amongst the least effective in the NFL, as Rashod Bateman missed 11 games.

Baltimore handed Smith a $100 million deal, which opened cap room to franchise tag star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Baltimore already has their hands full, considering they’re needing to maneuver a delicate contract situation with Jackson. One method they could use to sway him into signing long term is to trade for Hopkins.

Baltimore has a lot of money tied up into their stars already, and this aging roster needs to purge some of its familiar faces. There’s enough money to get Hopkins despite new deals for Smith and Jackson, but it’ll further tie Baltimore to their top-heavy approach to roster building. I think it’s worthwhile considering what’s at stake for the Ravens.

New offensive coordinator Todd Monken is an especially good hire for Hopkins. Monken helped get Mike Evans’ best production in his vertical passing attack, and Hopkins could see more big plays with Jackson in his aggressive scheme.

We’ve seen Baltimore’s strategy of building an offense overly reliant on Jackson’s playmaking continue to fall short every season. They must evolve, or else Jackson will continue to get injured. Adding a dominant possession receiver like Hopkins is a terrific way to redefine the offense’s approach and push their ceiling far higher.

New York Giants

No team’s receiving room was as decimated by injuries as the Giants were this season. First-year head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka deserve a ton of credit for keeping the offense churning despite relying on unheralded pass catchers like Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James. They’ve maximized players who were castoffs elsewhere and created a productive offense.

Giving Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley more help is a necessity. Hodgins looks like a legitimately good role player for 2023, and Wan’Dale Robinson figures to be back from injury next year. I’d like to see them retain veteran Darius Slayton as well since he proved to be a quality playmaker once again.

Hopkins would easily be the star of the offense and give both Daboll and Jones a completely different type of playmaker to work with. Daboll has experience working with speedy stars like Stefon Diggs, but he hasn’t worked with someone like Hopkins since he was the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator in 2011 with Brandon Marshall.

Marshall tallied 81 receptions for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns in their lone season together. That might be Hopkins’ upside at this point, but it’s still a massive improvement from the rotating set of names who played for the Giants this year.

New York has to take care of Jones and Barkley first, but they have enough money to also add Hopkins if they choose.

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