Browns WR Prime Trade Candidate Amid DeAndre Hopkins Rumors

Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones

Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones of the Cleveland Browns.

If the Cleveland Browns manage to sign DeAndre Hopkins, it could mean the end of Donovan Peoples-Jones’ time with the team.

Peoples-Jones has been a wonderful surprise for the Browns after being selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He was Cleveland’s second-leading receiver last season, nabbing 61 catches for 839 yards and three touchdowns. Peoples-Jones also returned a punt for a touchdown.

But if the Browns do land Hopkins, Peoples-Jones might be the odd man out, getting bumped on the depth chart and seeing a much smaller target share. On top of that, Peoples-Jones is heading into the final season of his rookie deal and there’s been speculation that the Browns will let him explore other options as a free agent.

If Hopkins comes aboard, it seems even more likely they’d attempt to trade Peoples-Jones to try and reap some assets in return before he becomes a free agent. Jason Lloyd of The Atheltic speculated about a DPJ trade in a recent conversation with Zac Jackson.

“Hopkins is still a talented player and an upgrade over Donovan Peoples-Jones, who might not be back after this season anyway,” Lloyd said. “Not to steal your headline, but you suggested to me that if they sign Hopkins, they can flip Peoples-Jones. I hadn’t thought of it that way until you said it, but it makes sense.”

Browns Can Afford to Sign DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins

GettyFree agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Jackson wanted to make it clear that the Browns can afford to sign Hopkins — although there’s a chance a team is willing to swoop in and give him a lucrative deal Cleveland is unwilling to match.

“I wanted to be more clear on one thing: The Browns absolutely have the money to sign him,” Jackson said. “Ideally, the Browns want to end up with cap space they can roll over to 2024. And they don’t want to end up overpaying Hopkins if they don’t have to.”

Peoples-Jones will make $2.74 million for the 2023-24 season. It’s not a huge number but the Browns could create additional room by finding a suitor for his services, pending Hopkins’ signing.

“They’ve already pushed a ton of money forward via void years, they’re clearly all in on this year, and ultimately they have ways to create space via players they don’t need,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying they’ll trade Peoples-Jones; I’m just making sure I emphasize they have cap room and will have options to maximize what’s left.”

DeAndre Hopkins, Browns Have ‘Strong’ Mutual Interest

The Browns are the betting favorite to land Hopkins and there is “strong” mutual interest between the sides to get a deal done, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston.

Watson and Hopkins were a dynamic duo with the Houston Texans from 2017-19. Hopkins caught 264 passes for 3,343 yards and 25 touchdowns from Watson during their time together in Houston.

Watson made a public pitch to Hopkins this week while speaking to reporters at a charity golf tournament in Cleveland and explained that the two have maintained a relationship.

“Me and D-Hop, we just naturally talk,” Watson said. “We’ve been talking since the Houston days. … He’s always been a brother of mine. … Our connection, our relationship has always been great. … Of course, we would love to have him. He knows that.”

Landing Hopkins would give the Browns one of the more explosive passing attacks in the league. He’d be able to team up with Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin and Peoples-Jones — if the Browns decide to keep him around.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments