Release of DeAndre Hopkins was a no-brainer for the Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos
Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort was left with no choice but to part ways with the five-time Pro Bowl wideout.

Many fans of the Arizona Cardinals were up in arms last week when the club elected to part ways with one of the best players on the roster. As it turns out, general manager Monti Ossenfort may have had no choice but to end the franchise's association with the great DeAndre Hopkins.

Professional football observers were more than a little surprised when Arizona cut the star wide receiver and got nothing in return. Just a couple of months ago, there was reason to believe that Ossenfort could fetch as much as a second-round draft pick for Hopkins. When that didn't happen, it started to become painfully obvious that the Cards front office may have overplayed their hand.

For a while, it appeared that the Cardinals may have been willing to keep Hopkins around for another season. After all, Ossenfort wasn't going to just give the pass-catcher away. Unfortunately for first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon's Redbirds, that's exactly what ended up happening.

The contract-extension that Hopkins was signed to back in 2020 turned out to be a major detriment to the organization. The 30-year-old's $30 million salary cap hit in 2023 ultimately turned off all of the potential suitors. In addition, the $19-plus million that Hopkins was scheduled to collect next fall seemed a bit inflated for someone who had missed 15 games over the last two campaigns.

The Arizona Cardinals had no intention of keeping DeAndre Hopkins around in 2023

If Arizona had waited until June 1st to release Hopkins, over $11 million of the dead money that the team must eat for cutting him would've counted towards the 2024 cap. Instead, the entire $22.6 million will be absorbed this year, during a season in which the Cards are expected to field the worst squad in the NFL.

On top of that, quite a few eyebrows were raised last weekend by a report that indicated that the Cardinals had soured on the five-time Pro Bowler several months back. Apparently, the club's hierarchy was upset when a healthy Hopkins chose not to participate in the final two contests of the 2022 campaign. Any chance of the former Clemson University product remaining in the desert was likely squashed right then and there.

If that isn't enough, there are also lingering questions about how effective Hopkins can be going forward. One anonymous executive told Sports Illustrated writer Albert Breer that the South Carolina native "can't run anymore". If there's any truth to that evaluation, Hopkins may have trouble getting half of the salary that he was slated to make with Arizona in '23.

It's difficult to fathom that Ossenfort couldn't even get a bag of footballs from any pro franchise for the rights to Hopkins. In the end, it was the money that the pass-catcher was scheduled to make that scared away any interested parties. One thing's for certain, the Cards will eventually be basking in all of the salary-cap space that was created by sending the declining Hopkins on his way.

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