Head coach Brian Daboll didn’t rule out a Hopkins signing and confirmed Big Blue’s front office is doing its “due diligence” in the three-time All-Pro wide receiver.
Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen are at least entertaining a move for Hopkins, who was released by the Arizona Cardinals on May 26 and is garnering serious free agency interest, according to Heavy Sports NFL reporter Matt Lombardo.
“Like last year, anytime there is someone available that’s a free agent, I would say Joe (Schoen) and his staff are going to look into it, research it,” Daboll told reporters before the team’s fifth OTA on March 31. “We talk about a lot of different players, regardless of who it is. That’s part of our job, to make sure we are doing our due diligence.”
Hopkins has only played in 19 games since his 1,400-yard first season in Arizona. But the 30-year-old would offer New York a highly sought-after WR1 and the chance to cap its impressive offseason, according to Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News.
Wrote Leonard: “Daniel Jones got paid. The Giants are loading up, and Hopkins as another piece definitely wouldn’t hurt.”
Giants Battling Chiefs and Bills in ‘Arms Race’ to Sign DeAndre Hopkins?
Big Blue isn’t the only NFL club doing its homework on Hopkins.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are locked in an “arms race” for the 10-year veteran, according to ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler. But both are more cap-strapped from the Giants, who currently possess $4.1 million in space according to the latest NFL Player’s Association records.
The Chiefs believe Kadarius Toney could develop into a WR1 after his midseason trade from the Giants, per Fowler. And a recent move to sign ex-Buccaneers tackle Donovan Smith might make a Hopkins move even tougher.
“That (Smith signing) drained some of their resources — I don’t know if they could quite pull it off,” Fowler said on ESPN’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Max.” “They do believe Kadarius Toney can be a No. 1-type receiver. I don’t get the sense that they’re overly desperate to make this happen, but there’s certainly some interest.”
Fowler thinks Bills could be a more serious “threat” to the Giants to sign Hopkins.
“When you talk to other NFL teams, they believe the Bills are a threat here and they have been for awhile,” Fowler said. “I still suspect that you have two contenders in the AFC that are sort of trying to combat each other and make sure one doesn’t get Hopkins over the other. So it’s a little bit of an arms race there.”
With star quarterbacks, steady ownership, and top defenses, both the Chiefs and Bills would satisfy Hopkins’ wish list he offered to the “IAMATHLETE” podcast before his release. So would the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, two more teams Fowler sees as sleepers for Hopkins.
The biggest sleeper team could be Big Blue, though.
“New York has many supporting players at wide receiver but no alpha,” Fowler said. “Is it time to give Daniel Jones an elite guy once and for all? Perhaps Darren Waller assumes that role, but he’s a tight end. The NFC East is only getting better, and the Giants might need to win some shootouts.”
DeAndre Hopkins Would Make Giants ‘Instant & Obvious Playoff Contender’
Hopkins would give Big Blue its biggest receiving threat since Odell Beckham Jr.
So says FOX Sports NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano, who believes the team’s current receiving corps “is basically a group of Nos. 2 and 3 receivers who hope that one of them proves to be a No. 1 by default.”
“They don’t have anyone that can come close to Hopkins,” Vacchiano wrote. “Maybe Darren Waller, if he stays healthy, but that’s a big if after two injury-plagued seasons. Plus, he’s a tight end. The Giants still need a No. 1 receiver. And while they have high hopes for Jalin Hyatt, their third-round pick, it’s a stretch to think he could have Hopkins-like potential, at least at first.”
The Giants should also have “their fingers crossed” for the health of receivers like Wan’Dale Robinson, Parris Campbell, and Sterling Shepard, per Vacchiano. All three pass catchers have missed significant time with injuries; two of those wideouts (Robinson and Shepard) had season-ending ailments just last season.
Hopkins will be 31 before the 2023 season. But at the very least, he’d add another body to New York’s room. And at the very best?
“He’s a top-5 receiver in the league,” Vacchiano said. “He would be the greatest gift they could give Daniel Jones outside of the contract extension they just gave him. Assuming everything else goes right… Hopkins would vault the Giants’ offense close to the top 10 and make them an instant and obvious playoff contender.”