Throughout the first few months of the offseason, superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins dropped several hints that he’d like to join the Buffalo Bills, and following his release from the Arizona Cardinals, interested teams could sign him without the heavy financial baggage that came with his former contract.
However, Hopkins still wanted to get paid. So, when the Bills made an offer to land the five-time Pro Bowler, it fell short of what Hopkins felt he deserved, as did the offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.
Hopkins, who ultimately signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tennessee Titans in July, opened up declining what he deemed as low ball offers during free agency in an interview with GQ published on Thursday, September 7.
The 31-year-old said, “You have to know your value and have some level of respect for who you are as a human being. Is the possibility of you going somewhere who is a Super Bowl-caliber team, on paper, is that worth you being paid minimum? It doesn’t add up.”
Hopkins also disagreed with the narrative the he chose money over joining a true competitor. “I feel like the Titans have a chance to win the Super Bowl, and they’ve shown that, over the past couple years,” he said. “There’s not many teams that can say that they just ran over the Titans… A lot of people have written them off, like they’ve written me off.”
Bills GM Brandon Beane Discussed DeAndre Hopkins’ High Price Tag
During a June 5 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Bills general manager Brandon 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.”
“So you guys are negotiating right now?’ McAfee asked. Beane responded with a laugh, “That’s as far as I’m going!”
Beane also addressed Hopkins’ desire to catch passes from quarterback Josh Allen and to join a franchise “stable management upstairs.” Beane replied, “We’re all about people that want to come to Buffalo, especially if they fit, obviously DeAndre is a heck of a talent,” mentioning the epic “Hail Murray” catch he made against Buffalo a few years ago.
While Hopkins seemed to seriously consider joining the Bills, especially with Von Miller publicly campaigning for the receiver to land in Buffalo, per Bleacher Report, Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter that OBJ’s one-year, $15 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens made Hopkins rethink his stance on what he’s owed.
“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.”
Before landing with the Titans, Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer wrote that he’d be “stunned” if Hopkins received OBJ’s level of money, even after hiring Klutch’s Kelton Crenshaw as his agent.
“Part of Crenshaw’s job will be giving Hopkins the hard truth about his market, and that where it sits now is about more than just who he’s been as a player—his age, injury/practice history and the time of year it is are all big factors, too. Had Hopkins accepted those truths earlier, my guess is he would probably be on the Chiefs or Bills roster now.”
DeAndre Hopkins Called Out Several Teams Who Rejected His Calls
While Hopkins is happy to be in Tennessee, he hasn’t forgotten all the teams who ignored his phone calls. He told GQ, “Detroit Lions, they didn’t want me. Dallas Cowboys didn’t want me. [New York] Giants didn’t want me. S***. Who else ain’t want me? San Fran ain’t want me.
“I’m very grateful for where I am, I think I made the best decision. But when you’re a player and some people feel like they’re great without you, and then you see what they have on paper, or you see what they do, you mark those games down, as a competitor. I can’t wait to play’ em and, honestly, try my best to crush they a**.”