The Arizona Cardinals releasing DeAndre Hopkins was yet another way for the team to distance itself from the Steve Keim era.
With Budda Baker indicating he will return in 2023, it tells us that the Arizona Cardinals won’t part ways with everyone associated with former general manager Steve Keim. At least barring anything unforeseen.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t inevitably see the Redbirds part ways with other Keim guys in the future. And of course, Kyler Murray will be a centerpiece of the speculation in 2023. When you compare how well Murray played with Hopkins on the field compared to how he played without Hopkins, it foreshadows what the Cards may do with the quarterback following the 2023 season.
Murray’s numbers without Hopkins weren’t good, as he led the Cardinals to a 3-7 record without the star receiver on the field, and posted just an 87.4 passer rating. However, with Hopkins, Murray had an outstanding 98.2 rating and an above average 17-14 record, per Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports.
If Murray flops, he’s most likely out of the desert, regardless of how much dead cap will hit the Cardinals. Arizona could then use a top pick on a quarterback, or if Clayton Tune proves to be an effective player, they could also roll with him.
Arizona Cardinals could move on from Murray in 2024
So will the Cardinals and Murray part ways in 2024? If the fifth-year quarterback can’t adapt to life without Hopkins, it seems to be a foregone conclusion.
In fact, though the Cards would never admit it, if they were serious about their would-be franchise quarterback succeeding, they would have mended the fences and kept Hopkins, all while seeking to build a winner this season. That didn’t happen, and it puts Murray in quite the predicament when he returns from injury.
While it initially seemed as though the Cardinals would build around Murray’s strengths, cutting Hopkins doesn’t help. I’m not saying it was a bad move, as I fully supported Hopkins’ release. But if the Arizona Cardinals wanted to see him succeed in 2023, Hopkins is still a Cardinal at the moment.
Overall, this latest move foreshadows that the Cards will inevitably go with Clayton Tune. If he proves to be an effective passer, then Arizona could have a darkhorse franchise quarterback, allowing them to use their two first round picks to surround him with assets like perhaps Marvin Harrison Jr.
But in releasing Murray’s favorite target, you can count it as yet another strike against the number one overall pick. Unless Murray finds a way to thrive with the pieces currently surrounding him, he will be playing elsewhere in 2024.
Source: What DeAndre Hopkins' release means for Kyler Murray: Could Cardinals move on from QB after 2023 season? by Jeff Kerr, CBSSports.com