The question about which team DeAndre Hopkins will suit up for next season took on another wrinkle when the New England Patriots brought Bill O’Brien back into the fold on Thursday.
The Patriots are in need of a No. 1 receiver and often have been mentioned as a potential trade partner should the Arizona Cardinals decide to separate from Hopkins, who could be part of the team’s offseason housecleaning.
However, O’Brien is the man who surprisingly dealt Hopkins out of Houston in 2020 in exchange for a second-round pick and running back David Johnson. Reports at the time indicated a rift between Hopkins and O’Brien, who is returning to the Patriots — he was on Bill Belichick’s staff from 2007-11 —
after spending the past two seasons as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.
Could Hopkins and O’Brien co-exist again?
The Patriots are still being offered at +450 by SportsBetting.ag to land Hopkins if he’s traded. That’s tied for the second-lowest odds among the dozen teams being offered odds on.
The current favorite is the Green Bay Packers at +300. That possibility could well be tied to the future of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to decide if he wants to return to the Packers — if he decides to play in 2023 at all.
Green Bay does have a pair of promising young receivers in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, and Hopkins would be a welcome veteran addition even if the Packers ultimately transition to Jordan Love at quarterback.
New England has the same current odds to land Hopkins as Kansas City. The Chiefs brought in a trio of new receivers this season in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney. However, Smith-Schuster is on a one-year deal and Hopkins could be a very appealing replacement to pair with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have a clear need for a star wideout.
Leading receiver Jakobi Meyers is a pending free agent, as is Nelson Agholor. DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne each have one year remaining on their contracts.
The Baltimore Ravens present a combination of question marks as they have the fourth-shortest odds to land Hopkins at +700.
First is the status of Lamar Jackson and whether the sides are able to work out a long-term contract.
The Ravens have publicly stated they will get a deal done to keep Jackson at quarterback, but that is the first domino that needs to fall before making a serious run at Hopkins. Baltimore has a desperate need for a No. 1 wideout for whomever is under center next season.
After Marquise Brown was traded last offseason — ironically to team up with Hopkins in Arizona – Baltimore’s leading wideout was Demarcus Robinson with a 48 catches for 458 yards. Devin Duvernay was next with 37 receptions but ended the season on injured reserved along with Rashod Bateman, who caught just 15 of 28 targets in seven games.
The first step to any team making a run for Hopkins is Arizona deciding to deal him.
The Cardinals parted ways with general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury this offseason, and quarterback Kyler Murray’s timetable for a return from ACL surgery remains to be seen.
Hopkins has a full-no trade clause and would have control of where he goes. The other question is what type of value a receiver who will turn 31 in June and has played in a total of 19 games over the past two seasons due to suspension and injuries will bring in return.
Arizona might be eager to make Hopkins part of its housecleaning efforts after watching firsthand the decline of A.J. Green after he turned 31.
DeAndre Hopkins Next Team Odds
NFL trades cannot become official until the first day of the NFL league year in March, but terms often are established in the weeks between the end of the regular season and the Super Bowl. Similar deals have been executed in recent offseasons, including the blockbusters involving wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford.
Hopkins has two years and $34.36 million left on his contract, but reportedly would like to renegotiate the deal after the market was reset last spring by Adams and Tyreek Hill, among others.
–Field Level Media