The Dallas Cowboys have already added a key piece to their wide receiver group with Brandin Cooks, and now receiver DeAndre Hopkins is available after being released by the Arizona Cardinals on May 26. However, the team is being warned against adding Hopkins, a three-time All-Pro, as he looks for a new team.
Signing Hopkins “doesn’t add up,” according to Mario Herrera Jr. of Inside the Star, listing multiple reasons, including Hopkins’ price tag.
“Despite Hopkins saying he’s willing to accept a much smaller salary to join a contender, recent reports since his official release from the Arizona Cardinals say otherwise. Several sources say Hopkins is seeking a contract upwards of the $15 million annual average secured by Odell Beckham Jr. in his recent signing with the Baltimore Ravens,” Herrera wrote on May 29. “That’s just money that Dallas won’t spend. Even with the money expected to be back on the books after Ezekiel Elliott’s official release post-June 1st.”
Hopkins, who turns 31 on June 6, is still one of the best receivers in the NFL, but a salary in the $15 million ballpark would test the Cowboys’ salary cap space, which is $10.5 million as of May 30, according to Over the Cap. Dallas has new contracts coming up for cornerback Trevon Diggs ($4.8 million cap hit) and defensive end Micah Parsons ($4.7 million cap hit).
DeAndre Hopkins Ends Stint With Cardinals
The Cardinals trade for Hopkins before the 2020 season was a seismic move, seemingly giving quarterback Kyler Murray the dominant receiver he needed to take off. Pro Football Reference showed that Hopkins totaled 1,407 receiving yards and six touchdowns in his first Arizona season, but the production rate did not continue since.
Due to a combination of injury issues and a six-game suspension for PED use in 2022, Hopkins played only 19 games over the past two years. He amassed a solid 717 receiving yards over nine games in 2022, but there are now on-and-off the field issues.
Hopkins would be a critical addition for the Cowboys, but three other Cowboys receivers — CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup — will make $4.5 million or more in 2022.
Situation May Be Changing for Cowboys WR
With CeeDee Lamb the established No. 1 receiver in Dallas and Cooks entering the picture as well, it prompts the question: Where does Michael Gallup fit in? The veteran receiver has over $19 million in guaranteed money left on his contract but is coming off 2021 and 2022 seasons that can only be described as disappointing.
That being said, head coach Mike McCarthy is optimistic for the future, according to official Cowboys writer Patrik Walker. That is partially due to the team trying Gallup at the inside slot receiver position.
“[Michael Gallup] looks good. This is really the first time that he’s had a full offseason program. It’s very important. … Giving him some more opportunities inside and expanding his [route tree],” McCarthy told reporters on May 25.
If Gallup can re-discover his previous form, the Cowboys’ receiver group could be one of the most dangerous in the league. Gallup totaled 1,950 receiving yards and 11 TDs over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but produced at less than half that rate (869 receiving yards, 6 TDs) over 2021 and 2022.