While the Arizona Cardinals announced they were releasing DeAndre Hopkins last week, the wide receiver officially passed through waivers on Tuesday, May 30, which means he’s now free to sign with a new team.
Over the past few months, Hopkins has dropped several hints that he’d like to join the Buffalo Bills, and according to Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer, they were one of only two teams “to have substantive trade talks with Arizona,” spoke “directly” with the receiver “and liked him.”
On Wednesday, May 31, Hopkins shared his first tweet since officially becoming a free agent, three emojis representing the Three Wise Monkeys; hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil. Hopkins also shared the message on his Instagram Stories.
Hopkins’ tweet racked up nearly 10,000 likes in just over an hour as fans tried to decipher the meaning behind his message. In addition to the Kansas City Chiefs, there are several teams looking into the possibility of adding Hopkins, however, NFL insider Jeremy Fowler announced during a May 29 appearance on ESPN said the Bills look to have the upper hand.
“My money would still be on the Bills or Chiefs working something out,” Fowler said. “And when you talk to other NFL teams, they think the Bills are a threat here and have been for awhile.”
In Hopkins’ recent interview with I Am ATHLETE, when asked which quarterback “he’d love” to play with “for the second part” of his career, Hopkins’ first answer was Josh Allen.
As for what would be his ideal team, “What I want is stable management upstairs. I think that’s something I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career coming from Houston and then to Arizona. I’ve been through three or four GMs in my career, so a stable management,” Hopkins said. “A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him and pushes not just himself but everybody around him… and a great defense. A great defense wins championships.”
Von Miller & Dion Dawkins Pulling for DeAndre Hopkins to Land in Buffalo
Immediately following the Cardinals’ announcement of Hopkins’ release on May 26, Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins sent the three-time, First-Team All-Pro a message on Twitter. Dawkins wrote, “@DeAndreHopkins there is a spot right next to me in the locker room #YouAlreadyShnow see u soon 😊.”
Bills superstar edge rusher Von Miller, who’s been publicly campaigning to get Hopkins to Buffalo this offseason, also immediately reacted the breaking news on Twitter, simply tweeting the side-eyes emoji.
The eight-time Pro Bowler also shared an image on his Instagram Stories that appeared to show Hopkins having a thought bubble with a buffalo inside.
Miller told reporters last month, “Hop says he wants to be a Buffalo Bill. I would love to see DeAndre Hopkins be here and I would love to have his skill set on our offense with Josh Allen Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox and Gabe Davis. How could we lose with those guys?”
Deadspin‘s Thomas Valentine also sees Hopkins being a perfect fit. While the Bills traded up two spots in the 2023 NFL Draft to land pass-catching tight end Dalton Kincaid, “That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be targeting another receiver,” Valentine wrote. “It should be encouraged. Especially when that receiver is someone as talented as Hopkins.”
“It diversifies their receiver portfolio too. Diggs is the deft, no-wasted-movement receiver with savvy route-running, Davis is the Z with over-the-top speed, and Hopkins could be their pure X receiver. It also means, that when the Bills have three receivers on the field, they can move them around in so many different ways. Per PFF, Diggs only lined up in the slot for 34.2 percent of his snaps in 2022, and allowing him to line up in the slot and work the space inside, gives the Bills something else to play with. And, of course, it gives Allen another player who can just go up and win contested catches. It’s an obvious pick because it would work so well.”
Can the Bills Afford to Sign DeAndre Hopkins?
At this point in the offseason, the Bills have made several moves in free agency, signed six players during the NFL Draft, and according to OvertheCap.com, only have $1.46 million in cap space. However, New York Upstate‘s Ryan Talbot reported on Wednesday that the Bills invited two wide receivers to work out this week, which means they are still looking to add depth at the position.
SB Nation‘s Matt Byham suggests the Bills could restructure the contracts of Dawkins and Tre’Davious White to create room for Hopkins, or “extend players such as defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, safety Micah Hyde, and nickel corner Taron Johnson,” but it’s not clear if Buffalo is willing to move that much money around for a receiver turning 31 next week.
As for Hopkins, he may have to choose between getting the money he wants or joining a team with a real shot at the Super Bowl.
“This issue really is money… If you’re Hopkins, you’re saying: ‘Hey, I’m more qualified, I’ve done a little more than Beckham. I can’t take less than that, take a huge pay cut to go to a contender.’ But you still have Buffalo, Kansas City, teams who could be looking for a receiver.”