Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins tweeted — then deleted — that he’s questioning his future in response to the new NFL rule that teams will be forced to forfeit games due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier Thursday, the NFL sent a memo to every team that the league will not postpone or reschedule games in the 2021 season should a team have too many unvaccinated players unavailable due to COVID-19.
Teams with an outbreak would instead have to forfeit and players on both teams would not receive a game check since the game wasn’t played. That was also the case last season, except the league was able to get every postponed game rescheduled.
“Never thought I would say this, but being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the NFL,” he tweeted before deleting.
Hopkins later responded to a tweet from Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, saying “when you stand for something they hate you!” Ramsey tweeted that he wouldn’t put any pressure on a player who doesn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hopkins is far from the only Cardinals player to not get vaccinated; the team is one of four that has not passed the 50 percent threshold for player vaccinations. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed on protocols that put restrictions on players who choose not to get vaccinated.
There is no mandate, however.
Hopkins, a three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, would owe the Cardinals $22 million in unearned signing bonus money if he retired.
–Field Level Media
DeAndre Hopkins admittedly relishes the idea of fellow wide receiver Julio Jones joining him on the Arizona Cardinals.
Hopkins, in fact, showed his hand Friday on social media.
“Somebody at the gym asked me would I restructure my contract for Julio?” Hopkins wrote on Twitter. He then added a gif of actor Neil Patrick Harris providing an enthusiastic thumbs up gesture.
Although it’s a defensive coordinator’s nightmare to pair the two high-profile wideouts on the same team, Hopkins likely will need some help in order to entice Jones into joining the Arizona Cardinals. Hopkins’ base salary in 2021 stands at $4.75 million, and he’ll need more than just reducing it to the minimum of $1.075 million to get Jones — whose base salary is $15.3 million.
Per SportsBetting.ag, the Baltimore Ravens (+275) and San Francisco 49ers (+300) have the shortest odds to land Jones should the Falcons elect to trade the wideout. The New England Patriots (+450), Los Angeles Chargers (+600) and Tennessee Titans (+600) are the next teams on the list.
Jones, 32, caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns in nine games in 2020. His low production was a byproduct of injuries.
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection has three years left on his contract, including $11.53 million for 2022 and 2023.
Jones’ career average of 95.5 receiving yards per game is the best in NFL history, but a hamstring injury derailed his 2020 season and third-year pro Calvin Ridley caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
–Field Level Media
Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins appeared to throw shade at his former team while expressing his gratitude on Thanksgiving.
“I’m thankful for the @AZCardinals believing in me enough to trade me for a 2nd rounder,” Hopkins wrote Thursday on Twitter.
Hopkins still appears to be a bit salty after the Houston Texans traded him and a 2020 fourth-round pick to Arizona in the spring in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
Hopkins, 28, is one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has 72 catches for an NFL-best 912 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Through 120 games (all starts), Hopkins has 704 catches for 9,514 yards and 58 touchdowns.
–Field Level Media
The Arizona Cardinals saw six players miss practice on Wednesday, but one absence stood out above all others.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins — the offseason trade acquisition who leads the NFL with 32 receptions and 356 receiving yards — sat out practice with an ankle injury.
According to reports, Hopkins skipping Wednesday practice isn’t uncommon as he has routine rest days during the week. But his addition to the injury report was unexpected. Hopkins held a Zoom meeting with reporters before the injury report came out, and according to reports, Hopkins’ ankle was never discussed.
Among the other players not practicing for the Cardinals were safety Budda Baker (thumb), linebacker Devon Kennard (calf) and receiver Larry Fitzgerald (not injury-related).
Wide receiver Christian Kirk (groin) and center Mason Cole (hamstring) were among four players who practiced on a limited basis.
The Cardinals (2-1) visit the Carolina Panthers (1-2) on Sunday. Arizona is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season, 26-23 to the Detroit Lions last week.
–Field Level Media
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will become the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history, according to multiple media outlets on Tuesday.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Hopkins will agree to a two-year contract extension worth $54.5 million in new money — an average of $27.25 million per season in 2023 and 2024. Hopkins, who negotiated the deal himself, will receive $42.75 million guaranteed at the signing.
Prior to this deal, Hopkins had three years remaining on a five-year, $81 million extension signed in August 2017 with the Houston Texans. He was set to make $12.5 million, $13.5 million and $13.9 million over the next three seasons, per Spotrac.
The Texans traded Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to Arizona in April in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
Hopkins, 28, is one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. The four-time Pro Bowl selection earned All-Pro honors for the third consecutive season and caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games in 2019.
It was the third time he topped 100 catches and the fifth time he exceeded 1,000 yards in seven seasons since the Texans made him a first-round pick (27th overall) in 2013.
Through 110 games (all starts), Hopkins has 632 catches for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns.
–Field Level Media
Week 8 of the NFL season held lots of disappointment for fantasy owners. No player is ever a lock to have a monster day, but that guy you drafted in the 2nd round (We’re looking at you, Mark Ingram) wasn’t supposed to put up a negative number. Here are 3 of the most disappointing fantasy performers from this week.
Julio was the consensus pick by experts to be the top fantasy receiver heading into Week 8. With a juicy matchup against the Green Bay Packers’ depleted secondary, everyone expected another monster performance from the star wideout. His speed and explosiveness should have been unmatched against a bunch of second-string corners. Instead, Jones only had 3 catches for 29 yards, good for just 2.9 standard fantasy points.
The game turned out to be a shootout just like everyone expected, but most of the fantasy production went to number 2 Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu, who had 9 receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Even Taylor Gabriel had a better fantasy day than Julio, posting 68 yards and a touchdown on 3 receptions. Jones should certainly rebound next week against the Buccaneers, who are still fighting for playoff contention.
Ingram had a less than stellar matchup against a stout Seattle Seahawks rushing defense, but he was still considered a low end number one fantasy back heading into the contest. Ingram had seen at least 15 touches in 4 straight weeks, and he had been fairly productive.
Instead of seeing his usual volume, Saints head coach Sean Payton benched Ingram in favor of backup running back Tim Hightower, who went on to record more than 100 yards on the ground. This would have been a little easier to swallow for his fantasy owners if he hadn’t only had 5 yards on 3 carries when he got benched. In a standard league that scores a -2 for a fumble, Ingram left his owners with an abysmal -1.5 score.
Hopkins was a sure-fire top 10 pick in fantasy drafts to start this season. After finishing last season with 1,521 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, Hopkins was due for another monster season. Instead, he’s on pace for a measly 860 yards and 6 touchdowns this year. While this isn’t terrible, it’s a far cry from what owners expect from a first round pick.
Everyone expected Hopkins to turn things around against a terrible Detroit Lions defense that was to be without top corner Darius Slay. Instead, Hopkins only recorded 44 yards on 4 catches, good for just 4.4 standard points. After this most recent abysmal performance, Hopkins can now safely be considered a bust. With quarterback Brock Osweiler under center, things only appear to be getting worse for the star receiver.