The Buffalo Bills have been connected to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for several weeks now. From statements made that the fit would best-benefit Hopkins, and that his landing there was the most likely outcome, to those by general manager Brandon Beane not to believe all that’s said on Twitter. It’s a classic case of rumors stirring the offseason mill. But wait, there’s more!
Albert Breer, author with Sports Illustrated and the Monday Morning Quarterback, in an appearance on the “Greg Bedard Podcast” had some interesting points of view regarding the whole situation with Hopkins and Arizona.
Albert Breer: “Some teams, Greg, think they’re (the Cardinals) gonna cut him. Think the Cardinals are gonna wind up cutting him. His market — his market is not great right now. Even for a team say like Kansas City. Kansas City would need him to take a significant pay cut.”
Greg Bedard: “He’d have to take like the Smith-Schuster deal from like a year ago.”
Breer: “I don’t — clearly there’s nobody that was willing to take on the contract and pay the Cardinals’ initial price.”
Certainly, the Bills cannot afford to take on Hopkins’ current contract — set to pay him around $34 million during the next two seasons — and that may be the case even if it’s restructured. It’s likely not advisable to have them further push money into future seasons, especially with a player of Hopkins’ age and the perceived return on investment. Worse yet, might be the idea of Buffalo giving up lucrative draft picks to Arizona for DeAndre Hopkins.
If Hopkins is released, the Arizona Cardinals would absorb a significant dead-cap hit, and his contract becomes null and void of any remaining money. DeAndre Hopkins would be come a free agent, able to sign with any team he chooses, for whatever cost he and his agent could negotiate.
Does this potential scenario favor the Bills, or harm their ability to lure Hopkins to One Bills Drive? Breer believes the teams most in play for Hopkins are the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. The Chiefs obviously have a bit of recent hardware and franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien does have a history with DeAndre Hopkins during their time together with the Houston Texans, but New England only has around $12 million in cap space according to Breer.
Breer: “The Hopkins one’s fascinating, ‘cause — they haven’t really been in on it (The Patriots). I know there’s at least one team that’s gotten permission to talk to Hopkins. To my knowledge that’s not been the Patriots yet. I think that was a ‘no’ for a number of different reasons. I think it was a ‘no’ because of the financial cost, ‘cause of the draft pick cost — which, initially, the Cardinals were asking for a two and something else. It’s because of the practice thing, obviously he’s got like the ‘attitude question’ in his history. But, if we’re talking about this being a reclamation project, where the price comes way down and he’s willing to redo his contract. That could be where you’re talking about something else.”
Breer would continue, while framing in terms of Hopkins’ joining the Patriots, noting how challenging the move could be for any team to land DeAndre Hopkins this season, via trade or otherwise.
Breer: “That obviously gives Hopkins considerable control over the situation because if you’re gonna change the contract then you have to go to him. You know what I mean? So I think this is a really really complicated one.”
Breer: “If his market collapsed completely and he was cut or was available for almost nothing, is willing to redo his contract — maybe we’re talkin’ about something else.”
While taking into consideration that Greg Bedard’s podcast is New England Patriots in scope, the conversation he and Albert Breer engaged in is enlightening when thinking what it might take for the Buffalo Bills to land DeAndre Hopkins.