Patriots-DeAndre Hopkins Chances Heat Up: Source

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty DeAndre Hopkins could join the Patriots after a surprising release from Arizona.

With DeAndre Hopkins out the door with the Arizona Cardinals, he could walk right into Foxborough with the New England Patriots.

The Cardinals released the five-time Pro Bowl wide receivers on Friday, May 26. Hopkins had been linked to trade rumors with the Patriots this offseason before the surprising release.

“I wouldn’t rule out the New England Patriots,” a league source told Heavy’s Matt Lombardo. “They aren’t out of the question. But, he would be an ideal fit with either of the New York teams.”

Hopkins won’t cost the Patriots any of his two-year $54.4 million deal with his former team. The Patriots have $11.79 million in salary cap space to work with.

Patriots Get Better in a Hurry With DeAndre Hopkins

Adding him to the lineup would give the Patriots No. 1 receiver to work with quarterback Mac Jones as the offense looks to get back on track. New England’s offense struggled in 2022 with 21.4 points per game.

“That dude is still legit,” an NFC Personnel Executive told Lombardo. “He’s going to be a hot item now that he’s available. Just phenomenal hands, damn good size, and lots of experience. He just needs to prove he can stay healthy, to make signing him worth it.”

Hopkins caught 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns in nine games played for 2022. He missed time because of a performance-enhancing drug violation last year.

Due to injuries in 2021 where he played 10 games, Hopkins last played a full season in 2020. He lit things up for the Cardinals that year with 1,407 yards and six touchdowns, but he also had 42 catches for 572 yards and eight scores in 2021.

DeAndre Hopkins Hints at Interest in Patriots

Hopkins could have interest in the Patriots as he acknowledged the prior trade rumors during the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast this week.

“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’ descriptions of what he wants and needs also reflect the Patriots’ trends and current state. He emphasized “stable management” as one area, and he said that “I don’t need a great QB” to throw the ball.

New England has a steady presence at the top with owner Robert Kraft and general manager/head coach Bill Belichick for two decades and running. Jones and potential starting quarterback challenger Bailey Zappe won’t get mistaken for the next Tom Brady.

In addition, the Patriots had a top-10 defense in 2022 — a consistent theme for the franchise in its better years during the 2000s and 2010s. Hopkins wants that in a team.

“I think defense wins championships, so for me, I think that’s the key. You’ve got to have a great defense,” Hopkins said. “You’ve got to have a great D-line.”