Patriots are ‘more likely’ to pursue DeAndre Hopkins after release


The chances of Hopkins ending up in Foxborough have reportedly gotten a little better.

Patriots are 'more likely' to pursue DeAndre Hopkins after release
The Patriots are reportedly interested in DeAndre Hopkins. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Arizona Cardinals released five-time Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday.

Hopkins had a cap hit of $30.75 million for this upcoming season, which would have made him extremely pricey for the Patriots to pursue. It was the most expensive cap hit for an NFL wide receiver, and No. 7 overall among NFL players.

But now that he’s been released, the Cardinals will save north of eight million while absorbing $22.6 million in a dead cap hit, according to ESPN.

That makes the prospect of New England signing Hopkins seem more reasonable, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

“The Patriots, who previously checked in on DeAndre Hopkins, are more likely to pursue him now that the contract isn’t as much of a hurdle, per sources,” Howe wrote on Twitter. “Financial competition is a factor, but there should be a level of interest from New England.”

The Patriots could use a big name receiver to pair with Juju Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, and Mike Gesicki among others. New England’s offense struggled last year, and adding more weapons around Mac Jones can only help.

Hopkins caught 221 passes for 2,696 yards, and 17 touchdowns over three seasons with Arizona. The bulk of those yards came in 2020, his first season with the team, when he tallied 1,407 yards.

Originally drafted by the Texans in 2013, Hopkins spent seven years in Houston before being traded to the Cardinals in 2020 for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a fourth-round pick.

He topped 1,000 yards in five of those seven seasons, and had three seasons where he reached double-figures in touchdowns.

While he was once considered one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers, there are concerns that age and injury have taken their toll on Hopkins. He missed several games in 2021 with a torn MCL and was suspended for six games in 2022 because of a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

“Buffalo has had interest. The Patriots have had interest,” longtime NFL reporter Mike Giardi wrote. “Best I can tell, no one believes he is what he once was, and that will be part of the challenge in acquiring the player. A couple of teams I spoke with before the draft believe $$$ will be the driver in this, more so than a ring.”

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