Hopkins not only acknowledged the Patriots’ rumored interest during the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast, he listed off numerous Patriots-like qualities for his next destination. The five-time Pro Bowler named the Patriots as one of two squads he “paid attention to” when it came to the rumors.
“Obviously, of course I’ve heard a lot of rumors of people calling,” Hopkins said on the podcast. “I would definitely say the Patriots were one of the teams. Obviously, I would say the [Buffalo] Bills were one of those teams that I heard.”
“I didn’t have direct conversations, but seeing what’s on Twitter, what’s on Instagram, you’ve got to pay attention to some of those things,” Hopkins added. “Really, those are the only two teams that I paid attention to that I was like, ‘All right, let me see if social media’s right.’”
Hopkins then described what he’s looking for in a team, and many of the qualities match the Patriots. New England had the most dominant run in NFL history from 2001 to 2019 with six Super Bowl wins under head coach Bill Belichick, who enters his 24th season at the helm.
“What I want is stable management upstairs,” Hopkins said. “I think that’s something that I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career, coming from Houston and then being in Arizona. I’ve been through three or four GMs in my career, so stable management.”
Belichick has been the general manager essentially since 2000 under owner Robert Kraft, and the Patriots had a top-10 defense in 2022. New England could have a solid quarterback situation again if Mac Jones plays as well as he did in 2021.
Hopkins notably didn’t go to Arizona this week for the Cardinals organized team activities amid the trade rumors.
DeAndre Hopkins: ‘I Don’t Need a Great QB’
While Hopkins named off quarterbacks he would like to play with and didn’t include Jones, that doesn’t mean New England has no chance to land
“A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him and pushes not just himself but people around him,” Hopkins continued. “I don’t need a great QB. I’ve done it with subpar QBs. Just a QB who loves the game like I do. And a great defense. I think defense wins championships, so for me, I think that’s the key. You’ve got to have a great defense. You’ve got to have a great D-line.”
Patriots Face Tall Order to Afford Hopkins
Whether or not Belichick could swing a deal to land Hopkins remains to be seen. It won’t come cheap as Hopkins has a two-year, $54 million deal.
However, Belichick has a connection with the Cardinals in new general manager Monti Ossenfort. The former Patriots personnel and scouting staff member worked under Belichick in 2003 and 2006-2019.
New England could use the extra firepower for an offense that sputtered amid 21.4 points per game in 2022. While the Patriots added wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency, the team doesn’t have another Pro Bowl-caliber pass catcher after him.