While the New England Patriots legitimately could sign prized free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler sees another contender with a potential but specific plan to pounce.
“I was told there was mutual interest expressed during Hopkins’ visit to New England a few weeks ago, and Kansas City is not to be ignored here — if they can get the Chris Jones extension done, that would free up significant cap space — at which time, pursuing Hopkins would be possible,” Fowler said on “SportsCenter” on Friday, June 30. “Maybe there’s a chance if he waits for a contender, that opportunity could open.”
New England has $14.95 million in salary cap space to work a deal with Hopkins. The Patriots freed up salary cap space this week, according to MassLive’s Mark Daniels, with new deals for wide receiver DeVante Parker and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley.
Kansas City has only $409,942 in cap space, but that could change with Jones’ extension despite his current $28.29 million salary as Fowler noted. Hopkins previously teased more interest in the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills than the Patriots in an “All Things Covered” podcast video in April.
Tennessee Titans Still Challenging Patriots for DeAndre Hopkins
ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that Hopkins “is mulling those” offers. Graziano added that both teams “are serious” about Hopkins.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a decision and a new team by the time training camp starts,” Graziano concluded.
Patriots ‘Intrigued’ by Dalvin Cook: Insider
New England’s pursuit of stars doesn’t stop with Hopkins. Fowler reported that the Patriots “are at least intrigued by” free agent running back Dalvin Cook.
The former Minnesota Vikings star notably said he wanted to join forces with Hopkins during “The Adam Schefter Podcast” last month. Minnesota released Cook in June due to salary cap constraints despite his four-consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
New England could afford both stars amid cap space and declining market values. Hopkins and Cook previously had contracts of $54.5 million and $63 million respectively, and NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry doesn’t see either happening again this year.
Perry reported that the Patriots probably won’t “have to pay up for” Cook and Hopkins “is finding this out right now” too.
DeAndre Hopkins and Dalvin Cook Fit in With Patriots
While the Patriots face a glaring need at receiver, Cook at running back makes sense, too. Fowler noted that the Patriots “like to have two good backs” to work with.
New England already has running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who went over 1,000 yards last season. Two 1,000-yard backs would quickly bolster the Patriots offense, and create arguably the most potent backfield in Patriots head coach Bill Belichick‘s tenure.
Hopkins likewise would bolster the Patriots offense as he would give quarterback Mac Jones a top, Pro Bowl-caliber receiver to work with. The three-time All-Pro has 106 receptions for 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns in his past 19 games between 2021 and 2022.