Bills Held ‘Substantive’ Trade Talks on DeAndre Hopkins: Report

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins catches a pass at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021.

The Buffalo Bills were one of only two teams to hold “substantive” trade talks with the Arizona Cardinals regarding star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins before his release on May 26, an insider revealed.

Whether that could give the Bills an advantage as Hopkins hits free agency is yet to be seen.

The NFL Network’s Albert Breer tweeted on May 27 that the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs were the only teams to hold deep trade talks with the Cardinals. Hopkins was officially released by the Cardinals on Friday, with the Bills being named as a potential suitor.

Insider Reveals ‘Issue’ for Bills in Landing Hopkins

As Breer noted, Hopkins’ contract was an “issue” both for the Bills and Chiefs. As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted earlier in May, the Pro Bowl receiver’s contract was a massive roadblock for a Bills team already tight against the salary cap.

“The financial hurdle, in my mind, is unsurmountable,” he wrote. “Hopkins simply costs too much money, and the Bills would have to perform some serious salary cap gymnastics to make his current deal work. That’s if Hopkins were to play on his current deal. Chances are, if he’s traded, he’s going to want a new contract.”

Breer noted that the Chiefs actually made some progress in trade talks, but that “more or less blew up” after receiver Odell Beckham Jr. landed a $15-million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, setting the wide receiver market too high for them to continue pursuing Hopkins.

Breer added that under the current circumstances, it would not be likely that either the Bills or Chiefs land Hopkins. Should Hopkins be willing to take a smaller contract, the Bills could “maybe” become a contender, Breer wrote.

Bills Seen as Top Landing Spot for DeAndre Hopkins

Though the trade talks never came to fruition, the Bills are still seen as a top contender for Hopkins now that he is headed to free agency. Nick Shook of pegged the Bills as the most likely landing spot for the star receiver.

“I have Buffalo as the favorite in the race for Hopkins because of the team’s status as a contender and the continued need for a consistent threat opposite Stefon Diggs,” Shook wrote.

But Shook also noted the complications that come with the salary cap, pointing out that the Bills currently have just $1.5 million in space. He suggested that the Bills could find a way to make it work, as they still have the ability to restructure some contracts to find space.

“The chance to chase a ring has to be alluring to Hopkins, especially coming off a 4-13 season in Arizona,” Shooke wrote. “During an appearance on the I AM ATHLETE podcast published earlier this week, Hopkins said he desires stability more than anything. That’s something he could certainly find in Buffalo.”

As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, some Bills players have already put in work trying to recruit Hopkins to Buffalo. Edge rusher Von Miller, who also worked to recruit former teammate Odell Beckham Jr. to the Bills last year, took to Instagram to share an image of Hopkins dreaming of a Buffalo.

Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson, who went to the same South Carolina high school as Hopkins, also suggested a reunion in Buffalo.

“D hop it’s time for us to get back together,” Lawson tweeted.

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