Patriots ‘more likely’ to pursue DeAndre Hopkins after release


The odds of Hopkins ending up in Foxborough would have improved a bit.

The Patriots would be interested in DeAndre Hopkins. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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The Arizona Cardinals released five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday.

Hopkins hit a cap of $30.75 million for this upcoming season, which would have made him extremely expensive for the Patriots to pursue. It was the most expensive cap for an NFL wide receiver and No. 7 overall among NFL players.

But now that he’s been released, the Cardinals will save north of eight million while absorbing $22.6 million in a dead shot, according to ESPN.

That makes the prospect of New England signing Hopkins seem more reasonable, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

“The Patriots, who previously checked DeAndre Hopkins, are more likely to pursue him now that the contract is no longer an obstacle, the sources say,” Howe wrote on Twitter. “Financial competition is a factor, but there should be a level of interest from New England.”

The Patriots could use a big-name receiver to partner Juju Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton and Mike Gesicki, among others. The New England offense struggled last year, and adding more weapons around Mac Jones can only help.

Hopkins caught 221 passes for 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons with Arizona. The bulk of those yards came in 2020, his first season with the team, when he totaled 1,407 yards.

Originally drafted by the Texans in 2013, Hopkins spent seven years in Houston before being traded to the Cardinals in 2020 for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

He passed 1,000 yards in five of those seven seasons and had three seasons in which he hit double-digit touchdowns.

While he was once considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, there are concerns that age and injuries have taken their toll on Hopkins. He missed multiple games in 2021 with a torn MCL and was suspended for six games in 2022 for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

“Buffalo has had interest. The Patriots have expressed interest,” wrote longtime NFL reporter Mike Giardi. “The best I can say is that nobody believes he is what he once was, and that will be part of the challenge of acquiring the player. A few teams I spoke with before the draft think that $$$ will be the motor, more than a ring.


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