Giants Trade Scenario Swaps 1st-Round Pick for ‘Alpha Target’

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty The New York Giants can trade their first-round draft pick for an "alpha target."

The New York Giants still have need for a true No. 1 wide receiver, even after signing Parris Campbell and retaining Isaiah Hodgins, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton in free agency.

No member of that quartet can match DeAndre Hopkins’ ability as an “alpha target.” His talents are worth the Giants sending the 25th-overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Arizona Cardinals for Hopkins and a second-round selection, according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.

His trade scenario also involves the Giants giving up their fourth-round pick, the 128th in this draft. It’s a tidy haul, but Barnwell believes the deal is worth the trouble, even if “it would take some cap gymnastics to fit Hopkins under the cap, either with an extension for him or a new deal for franchised running back Saquon Barkley, but if New York really thinks (Daniel) Jones is a star quarterback in the making, Hopkins is the sort of player who can unlock the best version of Jones at all levels.”

The reference to Daniel Jones is telling after the Giants gave their QB1 $160 million over four years this offseason. That’s a hefty investment in a player whose fifth-year option the Giants didn’t even bother to pick up last year.

Jones has since proven himself to head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen, but he won’t take the next step without a go-to target on the outside. Hopkins still fits the bill, despite any concerns about his age and injury record.

10-Year Veteran Still Great Value in Trade

Barnwell used the trade chart popularized in the 1990s by former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson to work out the value of this trade proposal. According to the chart, “this deal would value Hopkins as being worth the 77th pick in a typical draft, which is close to the middle of the third round. Hopkins is unquestionably a great player, but he’s also 30, coming off seasons marred by injury and a performance-enhancing drug suspension and is hoping to land a new contract.”

This valuation represents what Barnwell calls “a buy-low opportunity for the Giants.” Getting a five-time Pro-Bowler for a bargain price would be worth Schoen trading out of the first round.

Hopkins can still deliver the goods on the field, even though he hasn’t posted a 1,000-yard season since 2020. D-Hop did make 64 catches last season and moved the chains with 35 of them, per Pro Football Reference.

The three-time first team All-Pro also proved he’s still a sure target in the red zone by snagging this one-hander against the Minnesota Vikings.

Hopkins has made spectacular catches a happy habit during his career. He’s also been prolific turning short passes into longer gains, either on the perimeter or in between the numbers.

No. 10 exploited the latter area when he burned the Los Angeles Chargers for a 33-yard touchdown.

Plays like this are the hallmarks of a game-breaking wideout. That’s what the Giants still lack, so they should give strong thought to acquiring a player with Hopkins’ credentials.

Especially since he wants to be traded from the Cardinals, per the All Things Covered Podcast.

It isn’t often a talent like Hopkins is available. It’s rarer still a team can completely transform a passing game with two moves in one offseason, but the Giants can do just that by pairing Hopkins with another trade acquisition.

Trade Would Create Dynamic Double Act for Giants

Dealing a third-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for Pro-Bowl tight end Darren Waller was a smart move by Schoen. Like Hopkins, Waller is still a premier player at his position when healthy.

Waller has a great opportunity to get back to his best with the Giants, but his chances will be even stronger with Hopkins on the outside. Having Waller work the middle while Hopkins occupies double teams on the boundary would create easy reads and quick throws between the hashmarks for Jones.

When he wanted a bigger play, Jones could find Hopkins in a variety of ways. Nuk’s versatility and big-play threat would also mean more single-coverage matchups for Hodgins, Slayton, Shepard, Campbell and Wan’Dale Robinson to exploit.

The combination would give the Giants one of the more varied and dynamic pass attacks in the league. Not having to pay a first-round pick would surely help Schoen find a way for the Giants to accommodate Hopkins’ $19.45 million base salary for this season.

Then Jones would have little excuse not to prove he’s worth the money.

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