Browns’ Chances of Landing DeAndre Hopkins Take Dramatic Shift

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty Free agent DeAndre Hopkins.

DeAndre Hopkins joining the Cleveland Browns and reuniting with Deshaun Watson is a “strong possibility,” according to a noted insider.

There have been conflicting rumors in recent days about Hopkins’ interest in joining the Browns. CBS Sports insider Josina Anderson reported on Thursday on “The Crew” that Hopkins heading to Cleveland was probably not happening.

Tom Withers of The Associated Press also chimed in, dubbing the Browns a “longshot” due to a financial fit. It’s been reported that Hopkins is seeking a contract similar to Odell Beckham Jr., who signed with the Ravens. OBJ got $15 million in guaranteed salary and up to $3 million in incentives, according to The Athletic‘s Tim Graham.

However, per well-connected Houston-based insider Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Sports, a reunion between Watson and Hopkins is a “strong possibility.” Wilson also noted that Hopkins returning to the Texans is unlikely.

“DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson built one of the most potent passing connections in the game during their shared tenure with the Texans, forming a chemistry and timing unmatched around the league,” Wilson wrote. “They could have a potential reunion with the Cleveland Browns with strong mutual interest existing between the All-Pro wide receiver, the former Texans quarterback and the AFC North franchise, according to league sources.”

The Browns are the betting favorite to land Hopkins, per DraftKings. Cleveland is +100 to sign Hopkins, with the Bills (+300) and Chiefs (+400) next on the list.

Deshaun Watson Made Public Pitch to DeAndre Hopkins

There’s no doubt that Watson and Hopkins would have some residual chemistry from their time in Houston together. Hopkins caught 264 passes for 3,343 yards and 25 touchdowns with Watson as his quarterback.

Prior to his release from the Arizona Cardinals, Hopkins listed a series of things he would like with his next team. It included stable management, a solid quarterback and a strong defense. Watson believes the Browns check those boxes.

“I’ll just say this, D-Hop, DeAndre Hopkins would love to be in a place where the opportunity is there for us to win,” Watson said on Tuesday while speaking to reporters at a charity golf event. “We check all those boxes and I think for us to know and make sure we check all those boxes on the national stage, we’ve got to go out there and prove it and I think D-Hop would love to be a part of that.”

Browns Have Already Added to Pass-Catching Arsenal

Landing Hopkins would give the Browns one of the more formidable passing attacks in the NFL. Amari Cooper is coming off a 1,000-yard season and is currently the top pass-catcher in Cleveland.

The Browns added to their arsenal this offseason, trading for former New York Jets standout Elijah Moore this offseason, while Donovan Peoples-Jones, Marquise Goodwin, David Bell and Cedric Tillman are also going to be in the mix. Tight ends David Njoku, Jordan Akins and Harrison Bryant are also strong options in the passing game.

Landing Hopkins would be a score for the Browns but head coach Kevin Stefanski also made it clear they like the group they currently have.

“I really, really like our wide receiver room,” Stefanski said on Tuesday. “I love the guys that are in there. [General manager] Andrew [Berry] and his crew are always looking at every avenue and that type of thing, so I won’t comment specifically on the player other than to say I really like our roster.”

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