Insider Reveals Chiefs’ Initial Contract Offer to WR DeAndre Hopkins

Getty Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Kansas City Chiefs have an interest in adding veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins to their roster.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported on May 27 that the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills were the only teams that had “substantive trade talks” with the Arizona Cardinals regarding Hopkins earlier this offseason. Breer also wrote that Kansas City was the only team to make progress on a reworked contract with Hopkins, but Odell Beckham Jr.’s deal with the Baltimore Ravens nixed any contract negotiations that were taking place with Kansas City.

On May 30, Breer provided more details regarding the negotiation between the Chiefs and Hopkins, and this time provided a clearer picture of Kansas City’s offer to the three-time All-Pro wideout, who was cut by the Cardinals on May 26.

“Kansas City made progress toward a deal, but things went a little sideways when Odell Beckham Jr. got $15 million in base pay from Baltimore, making Hopkins feel like he should land at least that much, given that Beckham didn’t play last year,” Breer wrote. “The Chiefs wound up giving free-agent left tackle Donovan Smith a deal structured similarly to the offer they made Hopkins, which will make it more difficult for Kansas City to circle back.”

The Chiefs signed veteran offensive tackle Donovan Smith to a one-year deal this offseason. That deal gives Smith $1.98 million guaranteed and a $1.02 million per-game roster bonus according to Over The Cap. NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported on May 3 that Smith’s deal could be worth “up to” $9 million, which gives us a better idea of what the best possible payout is for Smith from that contract.

If what Breer reported is true, then Kansas City offered Hopkins, 30, a similarly structured deal to Smith’s one-year deal. But if Hopkins wanted a contract that was closer to Beckham’s — which was for one year with $15 million guaranteed — then Hopkins and the defending Super Bowl champions were far apart in negotiations.

Chiefs Could Change Approach If More Money Was Available

Though we now know what the Chiefs were willing to pay DeAndre Hopkins while he was still on the Cardinals’ roster, that strategy could change now that he’s a free agent if Kansas City had more spending money.

According to Over The Cap’s effective cap space (the cap space a team will have after signing at least 51 players and its projected rookie class to its roster), the Chiefs are $1.7 million over the cap as it currently stands.

Giving All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones an extension and/or re-working quarterback Patrick Mahomes’s contract would be the most efficient routes for Kansas City to free up a large amount of cap space in 2023. If they were to do one of those maneuvers, then the front office might also be more willing to offer Hopkins a contract with more guaranteed money.

To be clear — no one besides the Chiefs knows if general manager Brett Veach and company would ever be willing to match Odell Beckham Jr.’s guaranteed money with the Ravens. But freeing up cap space would at least get them one step closer to signing Hopkins from a financial standpoint.

Twitter Reacts to Latest DeAndre Hopkins Update

Twitter users reacted to Albert Breer’s latest report on the Chiefs and DeAndre Hopkins.

“Stuff like this is why I really don’t think the Chiefs get DHop. I just don’t see the money working,” Conner Christopherson of Arrowhead Report wrote.

“Makes me wonder a) what the plan at Tackle would have been had Hop taken it and b) if it still would have involved Smith, probably means that offer is not off the table if hopkins wants to sacrifice money for the ring,” another user wrote.

“A deal similar to Donovan Smith?! Ain’t no way D-Hop signing for that lol but hey I wouldn’t complain. I’ve already said OBJ’s deal is more than likely D-Hop’s floor now,” another user wrote.

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