Lions Urged to Pursue 3-Time All-Pro WR as ‘Added Insurance’

Free agent receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Getty Free agent receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Detroit Lions could have a major offensive liability in the early stretch of the season, and one insider suggests they take out a high-profile insurance policy in the form of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Lions have high hopes for the wide-receiving duo of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams, but the two won’t be on the field together until at least Week 7 as Williams serves out his six-game suspension. The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy believes that could leave the Lions vulnerable in the opening stretch of the season.

“We already know Jameson Williams will miss the first six games of the season, leaving the team without its main vertical threat,” Pouncy wrote. “But if Amon-Ra St. Brown goes down — especially during that six-game window — the Lions might have to get creative elsewhere.”

Detroit Lions Could Get in on DeAndre Hopkins Sweepstakes

That creativity, Pouncy suggested, could come in signing the now free-agent Hopkins.

“Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kalif Raymond are solid secondary options, but St. Brown is the only established difference-maker,” Pouncy wrote. “We saw what happened when he missed time a year ago. Part of me wonders if the Lions should pursue DeAndre Hopkins, for the right price, as added insurance.”

Without Hopkins, an early injury or other setback to the wide receiving corps could force the Lions to rely more heavily on other parts of their offense, Pouncy noted. The team did invest heavily in the run game, using a first-round draft pick on running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Gibbs told reporters this week that he hopes to make a difference as both a rusher and pass-catcher.

“I love how they use me,” Gibbs said at the conclusion of Detroit’s minicamp. “It’s something I’m used to – through high school, at Tech and at Bama. I’m pretty used to being used all around – learning all the routes and concepts.”

DeAndre Hopkins Getting Big Interest

Though the Arizona Cardinals were unable to find a trade partner for Hopkins, the wide receiver has gotten significant interest now that he is on the open market. He has taken visits to the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots, though may not be in a rush to make a decision. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that both Hopkins and the Patriots plan to take some time to assess their next steps after the conclusion of his visit.

Reiss noted that Hopkins is earning some strong interest from the Patriots, including some public praise and a bit of recruiting from quarterback Mac Jones.

“I think DeAndre is a great player. You watch his film from college all the way through the NFL, he’s done a great job,” Jones said. “So obviously we’d love to have him, but we do have a great group of guys,” Jones said at the start of the team’s mandatory minicamp this week.

“I’ve been really pleased with the playmakers we have on the team; we’ve come out here and really bought into the system. We have a good group and I feel like we need to keep growing together and whoever is in that room, we’re going to try to dominate together.”