The thought of DeAndre Hopkins being paired with Lamar Jackson on the Baltimore Ravens was exactly that on Thursday: a thought.
But now, Hopkins is a free agent, and his next NFL home is up in the air. Could the All-Pro WR actually join Jackson in Baltimore?
Is Baltimore the Favorite To Land DeAndre Hopkins?
Various national betting sites have the Ravens high on the list of DHop’s landing spots.
DraftKings gave Baltimore +650 odds of luring in the five-time Pro Bowler. They’re behind the current favorite, the New York Jets, who were given +700 odds.
But another reason behind the idea of a Hopkins/Ravens linking is his recent comments on I AM ATHLETE.
“I love Lamar Jackson,” Hopkins said to hosts Brandon Marshall and Ashley Nicole Moss. “Lamar Jackson is one of my favorite athletes since I’ve been watching sports. I’ve been a fan of Lamar for a long time. I’d be lying to say if I didn’t say … it would be a honor [if my career allows me] to play with a great guy and great quarterback like Lamar.”
Those comments were made before the Cards officially parted ways with the All-Pro wideout. Now, Hopkins is free to sign elsewhere as a free agent — and that includes the Ravens.
How Hopkins Changes Complexion of Ravens Offense
Jackson having Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. on the same roster is something NFL fans would most likely see in the Pro Bowl. Now, the chances of landing Hopkins just increased for Baltimore.
The Ravens already made their first aggressive move in coaxing Jackson to stay by signing Beckham to a $15 million deal. But Baltimore has other speed elements in place with veteran Nelson Agholor and first-round draft selection Zay Flowers out of Boston College.
This is still a Ravens offense that doesn’t know who will be the official WR1. While Beckham has his history of being a dominant No. 1, he accepted a WR2 role with the Los Angeles Rams opposite of Cooper Kupp during his last NFL stop in 2021.
Plus, he’s coming back from his second ACL tear during Super Bowl 56, which prevented him from playing in 2022.
Agholor, meanwhile, has never been a lead target in all of his NFL stops. Flowers, as a rookie, has a strong chance to establish himself as Jackson’s top wideout as OBJ continues his recovery.
Hopkins, however, has a chance of becoming the top aerial focal point of the offense if brought over.
The 6’1 “, 202-pound WR would give Baltimore someone who can haul in contested targets with his impressive leaping ability. But he’s also stout after the catch, eluding defenders in the open field. While he’s attacked defenses deep, he’s proven to be a short-to-intermediate attacker over the years, especially when there’s an opening created by the other wide receivers drawing coverage matchups.
All that speed on the field can mean less bracket or double coverage for Hopkins, especially on plays where he’s lined up next to OBJ.
Dilemma With Baltimore Adding Hopkins Involves OBJ
Count Beckham as the reason why a Hopkins to Ravens deal comes with a dilemma.
Per Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer on Saturday, Beckham’s deal impacted a nullified trade involving DHop between both the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Hopkins’ hefty contract, plus what OBJ was handed by the Ravens, were the reasons why the two teams shied away.
With Hopkins projected in the $15 million range, similar to OBJ, it would put the Ravens in the red for their salary cap. Following Jackson’s blockbuster $260 million deal and the Beckham addition, Baltimore now sits at $11,757,827 in 2023 salary cap space, according to Over the Cap.
Hopkins and the Ravens would have to find a way to work with a more workable deal that’s miraculously below $10 million if both parties were to link. But with two AFC contenders, the Chiefs and Bills, having their trade idea blow up, the Ravens can attempt to swoop up Hopkins and increase a new kind of odds before the season — their odds of hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.