Despite having one of the NFL’s best passing attacks last season, the Buffalo Bills had some disappointment from the wide receiving corps in 2022.
Aside from Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs, the Bills struggled to get reliable production from any of their other pass-catchers and the breakout season that many envisioned for Gabe Davis never quite materialized. But one analyst believes the Bills can change that this offseason, swinging a blockbuster trade for a receiver who had gashed them in the past.
Bills Predicted to Make Bold Move
Zach Dimmitt of SI.com’s Bills Central believes the Bills could have a bold move in them this offseason, predicting they could trade for All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
“And with receiver being one of the key areas of improvement for the team this offseason, putting together a trade to acquire the star pass-catcher from the Arizona Cardinals could be a deal that keeps the Bills in Super Bowl contention for the foreseeable future,” Dimmit wrote. “A receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Hopkins would become arguably the league’s best pass-game pairing, especially with Josh Allen at the helm.”
Hopkins was suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy, but still managed to make 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns. He also turned in one of the most notorious plays in Bills history, catching a Hail Mary pass from Kyler Murray to beat the Bills in the 2020 season.
There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Hopkins in Arizona, with head coach Jonathan Gannon saying he was “not sure” if Hopkins would be on the team in 2023.
“We are evaluating everyone. I know this – he’s a premier receiver you have to have a plan for [to defend],” Gannon said. “He limits you with how you have to play defense. … He’s a valuable asset for us.”
Bills May Hold Off on Big Moves
With the Bills facing a tight salary cap this offseason — the team currently sits close to $16 million over the cap, though will have various options available to lower that number — general manager Brandon Beane has hinted there will not be any splashy moves.
“We’re not going into this year saying, ‘Hey, I don’t think we’re going to be as talented as we were last season or in 2020 when we went to the AFC Championship,’ ” Beane said in his season-ending press conference, via the Niagara Gazette. “We’ve just got to, you know, we gotta hit on draft picks, we gotta find low-cost free agents that can find roles, whether it’s key backup, a solid starter, whatever it is. and so, it’ll be on me and our scouting staff to make the right moves.”
Even Dimmitt noted that the idea of the Bills trading for Hopkins was mere speculation, as the quiet period before the start of free agency can be fruitful grounds for speculative trade rumors. The Bills have been no stranger to these rumors, with various reports suggesting they could trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey or running backs Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones. The trade rumors go both ways, with other reports suggesting the Bills could move on from Diggs. As Dimmitt pointed out, “most offseason trade predictions fail to come true”