The first full week of June 2023 could present the time period of when DeAndre Hopkins ends his free agency situation. While there are teams that have fallen off from signing the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, one prominent NFL reporter revealed a new emerging favorite on Monday.
DeAndre Hopkins Rumors: Patriots the New Player in Sweepstakes
His first reasons were the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills being outpriced for Hopkins.
“At this point, I’d say both those teams would sign him only at a discount,” Breer wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column before indicating why K.C. and Buffalo are likely out.
“The Chiefs gave money that would’ve gone to Hopkins to left tackle Donovan Smith. The Bills traded up for Dalton Kincaid, lessening their need for a chain-moving receiver and giving them another mouth to feed in an offense that has to get the ball plenty to Stefon Diggs.”
Breer added: “Who does that leave? Well, I think now that the price has dropped and a draft pick won’t be involved, the Patriots are worth considering.”
Can Hopkins and Bill O’Brien Bury Past Rift?
If there is a roadblock that could prevent Hopkins from heading to Foxboro, it’s a past rift involving his former head coach Bill O’Brien…who’s now the offensive coordinator for New England. Breer addressed if Hopkins and O’Brien can co-exist.
“Despite perception out there, my sense is that O’Brien would be plenty on board with, not against, signing Hopkins (and Hopkins had his most productive years playing for O’Brien in Houston),” Breer wrote.
It’s true there was a falling out between Hopkins and O’Brien — helping spark the 2020 trade to the Arizona Cardinals. But it’s also true Hopkins put together his best league production in O’Brien’s scheme as a four-time Pro Bowler with the Texans.
Adding Hopkins gives the Pats someone who knows how O’Brien’s system works, which is more built on attacking the first open space instead of staying vertical through what Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were attempting last season. While New England did sign undrafted rookie Ed Lee from the nearby University of Rhode Island, the Patriots still have $14,299,960 in salary cap space per Over the Cap — enough room to potentially add DHop.
Breer concluded that while Hopkins is called a suitor for the Cleveland Browns, particularly because of his past relationship with quarterback DeShaun Watson, he indicated heading there is unlikely.
Are the Buffalo Bills Completely Out on Hopkins?
Again, the Bills went from one of the teams interested in Hopkins per Breer to falling further and further out of the picture.
Is Buffalo completely out? General manager Brandon Beane went on the Pat McAfee Show Monday to indicate that he’s not ruling out signing Hopkins, but the salary has to be able to fit.
Buffalo, though, has been proactive with signings in the past 48 hours. The Bills recently signed defensive tackle Ed Oliver to a $68 million deal, then added former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Leonard Floyd to a one-year deal Monday. Both moves, while bolstering needs on defense, still limits their cap room if they were to pursue Hopkins. Per OTC, the Bills are a shade under $1.4 million left in 2023 cap room.
One Other Team ‘Unlikely’ To Add Hopkins
The Bills aren’t the only ones drifting away as a possibility to land Hopkins.
Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Cowboys, through owner/general manager Jerry Jones, addressed any thought of adding Hopkins, who’s been long rumored as a possibility for the Cowboys.
“Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called a potential signing of WR DeAndre Hopkins ‘unlikely,'” Gehlken reported Monday.
Meanwhile, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones added via CowboysSI.com,”‘We went down the road with (Brandin) Cooks. We’re very comfortable with Cooks.”
Dallas already has Pro Bowler CeeDee Lamb under contract until 2025. The team is additionally welcoming back Michael Gallup, who told the Dallas media that he feels “springy” and feeling like his old self following a knee injury that limited him to 11 starts in 2022.
With Dallas, Cleveland, and Buffalo falling off, New England has emerged as the new trending contender to swoop Hopkins up.