The day took a turn on May 26 after the Arizona Cardinals elected to release star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after failing to find a trade partner over the NFL offseason.
Within the hour there were new betting odds available on Hopkins’ 2023 destination via DraftKings Sportsbook. Sports news app uSTADIUM shared them on Twitter, and the New York Jets were very high on the list.
Coming in at +550 according to DraftKings, the Jets ranked third behind the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills (+250) and Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (+400). The Baltimore Ravens (+650) and New England Patriots (+800) rounded out the top five.
NFL Insiders & Analysts Connect DeAndre Hopkins to Jets in Free Agency
It’s not just the betting odds that like DeAndre Hopkins as an option for Gang Green, multiple NFL insiders and analysts connecting the former three-time All-Pro to NYJ after the news.
Heavy on Sports insider Matt Lombardo tapped his sources for the “best fits” for Hopkins in free agency and the Jets ended up leading the way.
“If the Jets have shown anything during this offseason, it is that they are all-in on making a run,” Lombardo voiced. “After landing Aaron Rodgers in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers, the Jets could quickly climb the AFC East hierarchy by dropping Hopkins into Rodgers’ supporting cast, alongside veteran Allen Lazard and upstart Garrett Wilson, who caught 83 passes for 1,103 yards with 4 touchdowns as a rookie, last season.”
It’s a good sell, and why not? Considering the Jets could just release veteran Corey Davis in order to free up room for Hopkins. A Davis cut would save $10.5 million according to Over the Cap.
“New York currently sits with only $6.38 million in cap space, but Hopkins is the type of player general manager Joe Douglas would do cap gymnastics over trying to acquire,” Lombardo noted, concluding: “It’s easy to envision Hopkins making a similar impact on the Jets’ Super Bowl chances as A.J. Brown did just down the New Jersey Turnpike in Philadelphia, for the Eagles, last season.”
Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker also named the Jets as one of three “top potential landing spots” that makes sense for Hopkins after his release.
“The New York Jets already signed Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman Jr. this offseason,” Zucker began. “Garrett Wilson was also the Offensive Rookie of the Year after eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards. Wide receiver isn’t a position of great need for New York.”
“However, the Jets know they’re working against a ticking clock with Aaron Rodgers,” he went on, reasoning: “The surefire Hall of Famer is signed through the 2026 season, but there’s no guarantee he’ll play out his contract. Depending on how much Wilson grows, Hopkins could be the best pass-catcher on New York’s roster. He averaged 79.7 receiving yards in his nine appearances last year compared to 64.9 for Wilson and 41.2 for Corey Davis, who was second on the team in that category.”
Zucker settled on Hopkins being a “worthwhile gamble” for the Jets considering the limited window with Rodgers at quarterback.
The other two franchises Zucker highlighted as likely destinations were Kansas City and Buffalo, once again.
DeAndre Hopkins Snubs Jets’ Aaron Rodgers in Preferred QB List
Now that Hopkins is a free agent, where he wants to play matters more than ever before, and it just so happens that the playmaker hinted at five destinations during a featured interview on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast on May 22.
Ex-NFL and Jets WR Brandon Marshall asked what quarterbacks he’d like to play with to close out his career during the spot with I AM ATHLETE, and Hopkins responded candidly.
“I would have to say,” Hopkins began, pondering his answer, “one of my favorite quarterbacks that I’ve been watching since he came in the league is Josh Allen. Josh Allen, he reminds me of a new school Andrew Luck, and I love Josh Allen.”
The wideout continued: “Jalen Hurts. Houston kid, he a dog… number three, who I would love to have the ball thrown [from] — Patrick Mahomes, obviously. Number four, I’m going to have to go with… I have to go with the underdog, not a lot of people respect this guy as a throwing quarterback — Lamar Jackson.”
Finally, after some great deliberation, Hopkins chose Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert as his fifth passer on the list — snubbing Rodgers and the Jets in the process.