Browns Among Top Trade Suitors for 5-Time Pro Bowl Receiver

Kevin Stefanski and Deshaun Watson

Getty Quarterback Deshaun Watson stands on the field with head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have made some significant moves this offseason and could take another big swing with a trade for DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins has been away from the Arizona Cardinals as they sort out his future. The team is in rebuilding mode with new head coach Jonathan Gannon at the helm and will be without quarterback Kyler Murray for at least a chunk of the year recovering from a torn ACL.

It seems logical that the Cardinals would try to move Hopkins to gain some valuable assets in return but nothing has happened just yet despite a trail of ongoing trade rumors.

However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be moved and the Browns have a natural link to Hopkins due to his relationship with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who he had massive success alongside in Houston.

CBS Sports named the Browns as a top trade suitor for Hopkins, although they’d have to do some cap gymnastics to make it work. Per Garrett Podell of CBS Sports:

“The Browns aren’t exactly loaded with cap space (projected $7.0M), and they’re also short on 2024 NFL Draft ammunition after selling the farm for QB Deshaun Watson, the quarterback Hopkins became a superstar with in the 2010s. However, they have got a clear need for better depth behind Amari Cooper, plenty of picks in 2025, and head coach Kevin Stefanski’s leash may not be long for growing the passing offense with Watson. This trade would allow the Browns to become much more formidable competitors in a loaded AFC during a make-or-break season for the current regime.”

Browns QB Deshaun Watson Spoke With DeAndre Hopkins About Trade

Watson and Hopkins still maintain a solid relationship and linked up this offseason. Prior to the meeting, Watson said he was going to “chop it up” and see where he stood. However, Watson also acknowledged that the Browns would have to be in the right position to make something happen.

“Well it just really depends on if they’re serious or not as far as kind of like if we can really get him, so that’s something that you’ve got to be able to look at overall — cap space, pay, different things like that,” Watson said on “The Q with Quincy Avery” in February.

Hopkins gained 4,115 total yards with Watson at the helm for the Texans, including a monster 1,572-yard season in 2018. Hopkins is a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection and has six thousand-yard seasons to his name.

Hopkins played in just nine games last season with the Cardinals due to a PED suspension and injury, collecting 717 yards on 64 grabs with three touchdowns last season.

DeAndre Hopkins Looking for Stability at Next Stop

The trade rumors started to rumble once again this week with Hopkins appearing on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast. He gave some interesting insight on his future and what he’s looking for at his next stop.

“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 to being in Arizona; I’ve been through three to four GMs in my career. … A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him, pushes not just himself but people around him. 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.

“For me, that’s it: great management, a QB who loves the game and a great defense.”

Hopkins also had a wishlist of quarterbacks he’d like to play with, including Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, two-time Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens dual-threat Lamar Jackson, newly-extended Philadelphia Eagles star Jalen Hurts and Los Angeles Chargers passer Justin Herbert.

Watson was not on that list but it seems like a given considering their relationship.

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