The Arizona Cardinals could do wonderful things with the salary-cap space they would recoup by moving on from DeAndre Hopkins.
Incredible excitement was generated back in March of 2020 when the Arizona Cardinals brought superstar wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the desert. Just one year into his stint with the Cards, quarterback Kyler Murray was handed one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL.
Unfortunately for Arizona, nothing significant evolved from the blockbuster trade for Hopkins. The 30-year-old performed at a high level whenever he was on the playing field, but his presence failed to lead to even one playoff victory for the Redbirds.
With the 2023 offseason now upon us, a new era in Cardinals history is about to take flight. Owner Michael Bidwill has rid the team of both Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury, and has begun his search for new leadership. Will Hopkins remain a part of a squad that’s now greatly anticipating the future?
From a financial standpoint, the Cards would benefit considerably from moving on from Hopkins. The club has a plethora of weaknesses to address, and the ample amount of salary-cap space they would gain from parting ways with the five-time Pro Bowler is hard to overlook.
Trading or releasing Hopkins before June 1st would add just over $8 million to Arizona’s salary-cap number. Doing so after that date would give management an extra $19.45 million. Imagine what the Cardinals could do with that exorbitant amount of cash.
According to Spotrac.com, the Cards currently have a salary-cap figure of almost $22 million. That’s a decent amount of money to work with, but the front office could be in the bidding for some big-time free agents with over $40 million at their disposal.
DeAndre Hopkins was both good and bad for the Arizona Cardinals in 2022
It’s not that Hopkins isn’t worth keeping around. In just nine starts this season, the 6 foot 1, 212 pounder still managed to haul in 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns for the “Air Raid” offense. Despite the missed time, Hopkins still led Arizona in receiving yards, and was just four receptions away from leading the squad in that category as well.
The six-game suspension that Hopkins served at the beginning of the campaign was a bit embarrassing, however. Immediately following the 2022 draft, the news broke that the veteran receiver had tested positive for PEDs. Many observers believed that the Cardinals scoring attack would get on track when Hopkins returned in week 7, but nothing really changed.
Nevertheless, a large number of Cards enthusiasts will be sad to see the ultra-talented Hopkins leave town. Leadership and professionalism are two of the wideout’s greatest traits. Arizona is going to need plenty of players who exhibit those qualities as the franchise enters it’s next chapter.
From a business standpoint, sending Hopkins away would appear to be a no-brainer. Making that move would make the organization major players in the upcoming free-agent market. Just another interesting scenario that could present itself in what promises to be one of the most compelling offseasons in Cardinals history.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)
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