It Sounds Like All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins is Hitting the Market This Offseason (Sup, Bears?)

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It Sounds Like All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins is Hitting the Market This Offseason (Sup, Bears?)

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears need to fill holes at the receiver position. No big shocker there … it’s one of the NFL’s worst-kept secrets. Another one of those worst-kept secrets? The chaotic state of the Arizona Cardinals. And as luck will have it, we may just be barreling towards the intersection of those two storylines, perhaps (hopefully) to the benefit of the Chicago Bears.

PHNX reporter Johnny Venerable reports that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins might have already played his last game with the Cardinals:

If the Cards’ Christmas Day loss to the Buccaneers was Hopkins’ last game with Arizona, Bears GM Ryan Poles should be monitoring the situation very closely. If not actively/aggressively kicking the tires.

Hopkins has 64 catches, 717 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns in nine games with the Cardinals this season. But his career has been more spectacular than not, with six 1,000-yard receiving seasons under his belt, five years in which he has made the Pro Bowl, and three first-team All-Pro nods. The résumé is legit, but it’s not without its warts. For instance, Hopkins missed six games this year with a PED suspension. And in 2021, Hopkins missed three games with a hamstring injury and went down with a torn MCL in Week 14. He turns 31 in June, which officially puts him in “the wrong side of 30” territory. The combination of recent injury history and a PED suspension makes for some notable red flags that even I can’t ignore.

Even still … I’m interested.

That’s because Hopkins is a legitimate WR1 when he is healthy and available. Sure, he hasn’t put up a 1,000-yard receiving season or made a Pro Bowl since 2020. And Hopkins hasn’t performed at a first-team All-Pro level since 2019. But he still has moments (ahem!) in which he shines. Plus he would be an upgrade to a Bears receiving corps that needs it. Hopkins is someone whose skills and track record demand respect and attention from opposing defenses. It’s been a while since the Bears have had someone whose presence dictates an opponent’s coverage. Hopkins could bring that to an offense that could surely use it.

But at what cost?

I imagine the Cardinals will try to trade Hopkins before cutting him and not getting anything in return. But with the issues we’ve underscored above, I don’t believe Arizona will fetch nearly the price paid to acquire him in 2020. Remember, the Cardinals sent running back David Johnson, a second-round pick in 2020, and a fourth-rounder in 2021 to get Hopkins and a fourth-rounder from the Texans. Perhaps a middle-round pick is the price of doing business in a trade for Hopkins? If not, maybe the Bears could wait out free agency.

Let’s keep in mind the Cardinals could create $8.15 million in cap space by cutting Hopkins. But that would be a costly cut that comes with a $22.6 million dead cap hit. A post-June 1 designation on the cut would be more helpful for Arizona. Giving Hopkins post-June 1 cut status would create $19.45 million in cap space while cutting the 2023 dead money to $11.3 million. A cut is probably the last thing on the Cards’ mind, but it is a road they might travel.

In any case, let’s keep an eye on Hopkins and the rest of the receiver market. This is going to be a fun offseason.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.