You can't talk about the potential trade of Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins without mentioning the Cleveland Browns.
This time last season, the Las Vegas Raiders traded for Davante Adams, reuniting the receiver with his college quarterback, Derek Carr. While the reunion was short-lived given Carr's release, it does show that NFL teams will consider reuniting old teammates.
While Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson and Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins never played together in college, they spent three years together in the NFL, forming one of the league's most dominant dynamic duos. And while Hopkins will be 31 in 2023, he's shown time and again that he's still firmly entrenched in the prime of his career.
Therefore, don't be surprised if Browns general manager Andrew Berry picks up the phone and inquires Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort about Hopkins. The only problem, however, is that the Browns don't have a first round pick to give in 2023.
So if Ossenfort wants a first, this trade probably isn't happening. However, if he's willing to listen in on some alternatives, then Berry might be in luck.
Could the Arizona Cardinals ship DeAndre Hopkins to Cleveland?
The Browns have a second round pick, the 42nd overall selection, that they could offer for Hopkins, along with one or both of their fourth round picks, plus a player or two, preferably a serviceable piece along the offensive or defensive lines. No, this wouldn't warrant a first as many in the Red Sea would hope, but it would fill more than a few gaps on the Cards roster, and that's something Ossenfort must strongly consider.
While it's more likely the Cardinals trade with a team like the Kansas City Chiefs or the New York Giants, the Browns could offer a ransom of players and draft picks, even if they don't have a first to give. Cleveland might be behind in the game now, but the right offer could prompt Ossenfort to supersede other teams to make a deal that will reunite Hopkins with Watson.
Source: Browns QB Deshaun Watson Says he Will Soon Talk to DeAndre Hopkins to see Where Things Stand by Brandon Little, SI.com