Patriots Target DeAndre Hopkins Visits AFC Foe: Report

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty DeAndre Hopkins remains a sought-after free agent.

DeAndre Hopkins has not decided on his next destination, but another team instead of the New England Patriots will see him this weekend.

Hopkins will visit the Tennessee Titans on June 11 according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The Arizona Cardinals released Hopkins in May despite a stellar career, and he will make his first free agent visit in Nashville.

“There’s some familiarity here,” Pelissero said.

Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, the Titans head coach, worked with Hopkins when they were with the Houston Texans. Hopkins played for the Texans from 2013 to 2019, and Vrabel served as an assistant coach there from 2014 to 2017. Vrabel confirmed the news on  Wednesday.

“They are not the only team,” Pelissero said about Hopkins’ interests.

Pelissero didn’t name any teams “in talks” with Hopkins but noted this first visit “shows there is some mutual interest” with the Titans. The Patriots are looking at Hopkins according to a league source via MassLive, and rumors of Hopkins joining the Patriots have persisted throughout the offseason.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Hopkins notably showed mutual interest or respect amid an exchange at a December 2022 regular season game. Hopkins also acknowledged rumors of the Patriots’ interest during the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast.

In addition, Hopkins teased the Patriots with an Instagram video this month but took down right away. Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon teased Hopkins amid another IG video by the star receiver.

“Y’all seen the Pats logo in the background,” Judon wrote in reaction.

Hopkins actually reacted to Judon’s comment with two laughing emojis. Not all banter has worked in the Patriots favor because Hopkins appeared in a video where he showed more enthusiasm over other teams instead.

DeAndre Hopkins Has a Big Asking Price

New England, as for any team, would likely have to pay Hopkins significantly. The Athletic’s Tim Graham reported, via two unnamed NFL executives, that Hopkins wants a deal comparable to Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham, a star receiver with the Baltimore Ravens, signed a one-year deal for $15 million with $3 million in incentives. That’s after Beckham missed a season due to an ACL tear.

Spotrac notably projects Hopkins at $23.2 million annually or with a three-year, $69.6 million deal. That might not come true for Hopkins though despite greater availability but only slightly better numbers than Beckham in recent years.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer noted that he would be “pretty stunned” for Hopkins to land a deal that matches Beckham. Breer added that Beckham’s deal “has had an adverse effect on the Hopkins market”.

For the Patriots, Hopkins could come with a steep price for a player who may not fit in with the team culture. NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry reported that “several league sources” don’t see Hopkins as a fit with the Patriots, particularly in the area of practice habits.

One Patriots Hurdle for DeAndre Hopkins Looks Clear

The most public in-house hurdle looks clear for the Patriots — past work experiences with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Hopkins played for O’Brien with the Texans before getting traded.

Breer reported that O’Brien “would be plenty on board” with Hopkins joining the Patriots. That would give Patriots quarterback Mac Jones a valuable target to help turn around the offense in 2023.

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