Arizona Cardinals: Trading Hopkins would be franchise-altering
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals, if they finish with six wins or fewer in 2022, need to seriously consider all options moving forward, including a blockbuster trade.
In 2020, Arizona Cardinals receiver arrived in the desert in what was one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory that worked out well for the Redbirds. Now that Hopkins is 30 and will be entering his 11th season in 2023, the Cardinals should consider trading him if they have indeed seen enough of Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim.
Many will argue that because Kingsbury and Keim signed contract extensions that they will return for at least 2023. But in the NFL, no job is safe, the unexpected will often occur, and each season, we will say, Who would’ve thought, several times.
Who would’ve thought the New York teams would have the better record than the LA teams over the season’s first nine weeks? Who would’ve thought Cooper Rush would have kept the Cowboys afloat? Who would’ve thought Aaron Rodgers would be 3-6 after his offense put up nine points to the Detroit Lions? The list never ends.
So let’s talk about a potential DeAndre Hopkins trade this offseason if the Cardinals continue to suffer through another five or six losses thanks to leaky defenses and stagnant offenses. And let’s not just discuss it, let’s talk about why the Cardinals should move the 30-year-old star receiver.
DeAndre Hopkins trade would work wonders for the Arizona Cardinals
While the Arizona Cardinals would essentially be giving up next season if they traded Hopkins, it could be an absolute steal for the star-crossed franchise much in the same way the Herschel Walker Trade was for the Dallas Cowboys. And while a Hopkins trade wouldn’t come to that magnitude, it would give the Cardinals a good chance to rebuild a franchise that, with its current state, is going nowhere. Even with Hopkins on board.
So really, why keep him while his value is still high? I said the same thing about Chandler Jones once upon a time, to trade him and to keep Haason Reddick, and look at the Cardinals pass rush. In hindsight, they should’ve listened to me.
Given Hopkins’ production, he could easily go to a team on the verge of contention for the following:
- 2023 and 2024 first round picks.
- 2023 second round pick.
- Potential late-round selections or key veteran reserves.
By trading Hopkins, the Cardinals could generate two first round picks in each of the next two seasons, save cap space, and for once, build through the draft. Of course, this is all assuming neither Keim nor Kingsbury are here, and the new general manager and head coach would prefer to bring in their own players from Day 1.
As it stands in Week 10, the Cardinals currently have the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft, which outlets like Athlon Sports are projecting them to take a corner with that selection. Any new type of management should also weigh their options regarding quarterback Kyler Murray.
A word on Kyler Murray
Given his sheer contract yet lack of credentials when it comes to winning, it would be tough to convince a team to trade for him. Murray has yet to elevate others around him, he has never won a playoff game, or even a division title. And barring some miracle, Murray is on pace to go 0 for 4 in that category.
This would, from a competition standpoint, render him the least successful #1 overall pick at quarterback between 2018 and 2020, as the jury remains out on 2021 first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. 2018 first round pick Baker Mayfield won a playoff game while 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow led a wobbly Cincinnati Bengals team to the Super Bowl.
Go back to 2016, and former first overall pick Jared Goff led his Rams to the big game in 2018. That said, Murray, despite winning Rookie of the Year honors and two trips to the Pro Bowl, has also dramatically underperformed.
And if new management comes in, not only should the Cardinals trade who will be an aging yet still productive Hopkins for a plethora of draft picks; they should also look into seeing if there are any takers for Murray. A naive team like the Houston Texans, ironically, might actually take the bait there.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals would have new management, a barren roster fit for an expansion team, but a new outlook, a lot of draft capital, and a lot of optimism. And if these radical moves would eventually equate to lifting a Lombardi Trophy in the desert, then finishing 4-13 in 2023 and 6-11 in 2024 with a bunch of young players and castoffs will be well worth it.
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