DeAndre Hopkins will become one of the biggest moving pieces in the NFL this offseason when a blockbuster trade sending him from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals becomes official on Wednesday afternoon, and it appears as if the three-time All-Pro wide receiver helped precipitate his departure to some extent.
According to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle, Hopkins was unhappy in his current contract with the Texans that would have paid him $40 million over the next three seasons and was looking to renegotiate something better, but Houston was not interested in altering his deal. Hopkins signed a five-year, $81 million deal in 2017 with $49 million guaranteed.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Monday afternoon on SportsCenter that Hopkins’ name has quietly come up in trade discussions over the past few weeks, even months, while Wilson reported prior to the deal the Texans would be looking to get a first-round draft pick and other assets in exchange for any potential deal for top-shelf receiving talent.
Instead, the Texans walk away from the deal with All-Pro running back David Johnson along with the Cardinals’ second-round pick this year and a fourth-round pick in 2021. Houston still does not have a selection in the first round after dealing away their top pick in 2020 to the Miami Dolphins last offseason for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, will now add one of the most dominant wideouts in the NFL over the past several seasons to their arsenal for quarterback Kyler Murray, even if they must still figure out a way to address his contract needs. Hopkins isn’t likely to back down from renegotiation talks with the same deal following him to Arizona, but a common ground might be more easily reached.
Hopkins caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2019 season and was named a first-team All-Pro selection for a third consecutive year. The 27-year-old wide receiver has produced more than 1,100 receiving yards in five of his seven NFL seasons.
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Cardinals Looking Stacked Offensively With Hopkins
The Cardinals finished four games behind in the NFC West last season, but the organization has been optimistic about the future with quarterback Kyler Murray — the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019 — and No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now, they can also count on one of the most dynamic pass-catching weapons in the league.
Hopkins joins a receiving corps that also features veteran Larry Fitzgerald and third-year Christian Kirk and makes for a diverse selection of options for Murray’s sophomore campaign. The loss of Johnson in the backfield also isn’t much of a loss at all with Kenyan Drake — who drew a transition tag from the Cardinals for 2020 — already situated as the main ball carrier.
The Cardinals traded to acquire Drake from the Dolphins midseason in 2019 and welcomed him into the lineup for their Week 9 home loss to San Francisco. He took 15 carries for 110 yards in his debut performance for Arizona and took no fewer than 10 carries per game for the remainder of the season, taking over the majority of reps as Johnson’s dwindled.
Drake rushed 123 times for 643 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games for the Cardinals, while Johnson finished with just 94 takes over 13 games for 345 rushing yards and two scoring runs.