4 contract decisions that will pay off for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023

  • Budda Baker will be a star on defense
  • The Cardinals did the right thing with J.J. Watt's contract
  • It needed to be done with DeAndre Hopkins
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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DeAndre Hopkins

Current status: released - cleared $8.1 million in cap space, but taking on $22.6 million in dead cap - off the books for 2024

The initial reaction to DeAndre Hopkins' trade was unlikely to be positive. Losing one of the best receivers in the league because he essentially forced himself out is not something to be excited about unless you're that receiver, perhaps.

But some good came from his release, which certainly applies to being well worth it in the end with the others on this list.

The most significant number of Hopkins' release is the created cap space, $8.1 million. The move put them at just under $24 million to use for free agency and the draft, which come in handy for a rebuilding team.

On the other hand, it did put Arizona in quite a hole for dead cap. Because of the way Hopkins' contract was structured and the team didn't wait to release him until after June 1st, they are set to eat a projected $22.6 million this season.

However, they are now off the hook to pay the receiver next season, which is the shiniest silver lining applicable to this situation. This gives them over $51 million in space in 2024, which may become even more vital when looking to add free agents to the roster.