DeAndre Hopkins could change his mind about leaving the Arizona Cardinals if Sean Payton is named the team’s next head coach.
It goes without saying that a variety of subjects were discussed this past Thursday when the Arizona Cardinals had their face-to-face meeting with Sean Payton. Rest assured, a certain five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver’s future with the team was likely one of the main points of interest.
The Cardinals are an NFL franchise that’s in transition this offseason, and hiring Payton to be the club’s next head coach could bring a whole lot of change to this floundering organization. Earlier this month, a report surfaced that indicated that owner Michael Bidwill may want to move on from wideout DeAndre Hopkins. If hired, would an offensive guru like Payton demand that the insanely talented pass-catcher remain with Arizona?
Actually, it would be surprising if Payton didn’t want to keep a performer like Hopkins around. Following his return from a six-game suspension last fall, the 30-year-old hauled in an outstanding 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns. Outstanding numbers, especially for a Kliff Kingsbury scoring attack that was basically in shambles.
Arizona Cardinals receiving corps can not afford to lose DeAndre Hopkins
Dealing away a supreme athlete like Hopkins would leave the Redbirds with a pretty sizable hole at the wide receiver spot. Sure, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will be back for at least one more campaign. After Brown, however, the depth at the position gets extremely thin.
It’s looking more and more that Rondale Moore is heading towards “bust” status. The Cards’ second-round draft pick in 2021 has flashed at times, but simply can’t stay healthy. Greg Dortch will presumably be back, but the rest of the cupboard is even more bare behind the undersized trio.
Of course, the money will play a huge part in whether Hopkins stays or goes. According to Spotrac.com, the 6 foot 1, 212 pounder will count $30.75 million against the Cardinals’ salary cap in 2023. That’s an exorbitant amount of cash, but it’s nothing that a good, old restructuring of Hopkins’ contract can’t fix.
There’s no doubt that Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort will be listening to offers for the highly-coveted Hopkins. Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers would love to have the South Carolina native in their lineup. It’s also possible that the Cards could fetch at least a second-round selection for a star receiver like Hopkins.
Even so, one would have to think that an offensive innovator like Payton would love to have a weapon like Hopkins in his arsenal. Just one more reason for Bidwill to break out that checkbook, and spend whatever it takes to lure Payton to the Cardinals.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)
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