Hopkins has been heavily involved in trade rumors this offseason, with the Cardinals looking to go in a different direction under a new head coach Jonathan Gannon.
What also doesn’t bode well for Hopkins’ immediate future in Arizona is that quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to miss a chunk of next season as he recovers from an ACL tear. Spending $30 million on a 30-year-old wide receiver with no franchise quarterback throwing to him isn’t exactly an ideal a great investment.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported this week that the belief of some teams around the league is that Hopkins will eventually be cut, which would eliminate the price of draft picks that would have to be attached to a trade. That has, in turn, slowed down any offers coming in for Hopkins, which could lead to his release.
There’s some incentive for the Cardinals to simply cut Hopkins if they don’t find a trade that works. They’d save nearly $8 million against the cap by letting him walk.
Browns Have Deshaun Watson Card to Play With Hopkins
There’s a chance Hopkins would simply follow the money and land with a team that comes with the most lucrative offer. While the Browns don’t have the cap space to do that, they have something else to offer Hopkins in the form of quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was Hopkins’ quarterback during some of his most prolific seasons.
Hopkins gained 4,115 total yards with Watson at the helm for the Texans, including a monster 1,572-yard season in 2018. Hopkins is a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection and has six thousand-yard seasons to his name.
The addition of Hopkins would give the Browns elite depth alongside Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, as wel as newcomers Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin. Watson said in February that he planned to talk to Hopkins about his next steps.
“Once you kind of know, you just kind of communicate with him, nothing too serious,” Watson said on “The Q with Quincy Avery.” “Me and D-Hop have been friends for a while so we’re actually going to be in the same area probably this weekend. So you know, we’re gonna chop it up and see where things kind of hold for us. But nothing’s guaranteed and you just kind of let it flow from there.”
Browns Will Rely More on Watson, Passing Game
The Browns offensive philosophy could shift next season with Watson having another year under his belt. While they have become known for multiple tight end sets and a hard-nosed running back propeled by All-Pro Nick Chubb, that could be shifting a bit.
“Cleveland’s offense is going to be really interesting next year. Look for the Browns to add a speed wide receiver this off-season to go with Amari Cooper,” Matthew Berry of NBC Sports reported. “One source told me ‘They are really going to open up the offense. Go five wide. Pass a lot. This is going to be Deshaun Watson’s offense, not Nick Chubb’s. They will pass a lot more than folks expect.”