While it seems the Buffalo Bills could’ve avoided the mandatory minicamp drama with Stefon Diggs from turning into a media circus if head coach Sean McDermott simply announced on Day 1 that the wide receiver’s absence from practice was excused, that’s not how things unfolded.
It’s impossible to cast blame without knowing what led to Diggs needing “a break and some space” as McDermott explained, but amid the drama, The Buffalo News Jay Skurski suggested that Bills general manager Brandon Beane may re-think his stance on free agent DeAndre Hopkins, who’s dropped several hints he’d love to play in Orchard Park.
“There have been some reports that Hopkins is seeking to get paid. If so, more power to him,” Skurski wrote. “The window for players to earn money is small, and as teams are quick to show, it’s always business, never personal. Given the Bills’ salary cap situation, it’s very likely that if Hopkins is seeking to get paid, he’ll likely find more money somewhere else.”
“It has felt all offseason like ‘Hopkins to the Bills’ has been more fan driven than anything else,” although Albert Breer reported the Bills had “substantive trade talks” with the five-time Pro Bowler before his release from the Arizona Cardinals, “I’ll admit that the drama with Diggs this week did leave me thinking about the possibility of Beane taking another look at Hopkins.”
If the rift between Diggs and the franchise somehow pushes Buffalo to move money around to sign Hopkins, it would be an overall win. Adding Hopkins doesn’t mean Diggs is on the way out, as the $96 million contract extension he signed with Buffalo last year makes an immediate trade or release nearly impossible.
Not only do Diggs and Hopkins get along off the field, but they’d also provide quarterback Josh Allen with one of the scariest wide receiver duos in the league. As Allen told reporters on June 13, “Winning solves all problems.” While it could make a major dent the number of targets Diggs receives, he told Heavy Sports last year that he would “100%” support the Bills adding OBJ because it would make the team better. The same sentiment likely stands for Hopkins.
Bills edge rusher Von Miller and veteran Shaq Lawson publicly campaigned to bring the receiver to Buffalo, while Pro Bowler Dion Dawkins tweeted on May 26, “@DeAndreHopkins there is a spot right next to me in the locker room #YouAlreadyShnow see u soon 😊.”
DeAndre Hopkins Is ‘Not In Any Major Rush to Sign Anywhere’
While Hopkins had productive free agent visits with both the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans since his release last month, the door is still open for other teams to pounce. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said Sunday on SportsCenter that the veteran receiver “is not in any major rush to sign anywhere” and “could wait until close to training camp, if need be, depending on the right deal,” per Bleacher Report‘s Tyler Conway.
Conway noted that while Hopkins would love to work with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, his wish to play alongside a “superstar quarterback” may push him elsewhere.
“Assuming Hopkins will want a one-year deal to improve his standing around the league, it’s fair to wonder if playing that season catching balls from [Patriots quarterback Mac] Jones is the right move. If Hopkins is willing to take a short-term pay cut, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have superstar quarterbacks and could throw him near the top of their depth chart instantly,” he wrote on Sunday.
Brandon Beane Discussed the Possibility of Adding DeAndre Hopkins
When asked about the possibility of signing Hopkins in March, Beane poured cold water on the rumored reports. Beane said he couldn’t go deeper into the topic since Hopkins “is on another team” — an understandable approach to avoid a possible tampering penalty.
However, Beane appeared much more comfortable discussing the possibility of adding Hopkins following his official release. During a June 5 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Beane was asked about the receiver’s expected high price tag.
“It would definitely have to fit with how we would restructure the salary and all that, so never ruling it out,” Beane said. “I know he’s a good player and he’ll likely demand a decent contract.”
“We’re all about people that want to come to Buffalo, especially if they fit, obviously DeAndre is a heck of a talent.”