The Arizona Cardinals have been unexpectedly feisty to begin the 2023 season. Many viewed the Cardinals as performing one of the most egregious tanking jobs in NFL history with USC quarterback Caleb Williams as plans A through Z.
A quiet Cardinals offseason suggested that the Arizona Cardinals were a franchise where success is an uphill battle. This includes many former Cardinals who left the team this offseason for supposedly greener pastures.
Luckily for fans it took the Arizona Cardinals all of three weeks to dispatch the tanking narrative and now Arizona doesn’t look like a bad destination after all. After an offseason of being the punchline, the Arizona Cardinals look better than several teams in the NFL and could finish closer to the playoffs than to the number one overall pick. This article will examine a few of the top names who left the team who may be regretting their decision right now.
3 former Arizona Cardinals struggling to gain traction in their new homes
1 - DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins left the Cardinals in the offseason because he assumed that the Arizona Cardinals were a sinking ship. Forcing himself out of the Cardinals organization led him to joining the Tennessee Titans; a team paying him $8 million less while having the same record as the Arizona Cardinals. Early signs point to Deandre Hopkins being too hasty to leave, instead opting to join a team in a far more unstable situation.
Hopkins bet on himself this season, however it is increasingly looking like a bad gamble. Through the first three games of the season Hopkins has 14 receptions for 153 yards. He has yet to be able to convert his team high 30.9% target share into significant production.
For comparison, Arizona Cardinals rookie Michael Wilson has more yards this season than Deandre Hopkins on 16 less targets. It is also worth monitoring that, as of Week 3, Deandre Hopkins has the lowest yards per reception of his illustrious career. With all of the struggles that are endemic to the Tennessee Titans offense, it is hard to envision Deandre Hopkins having a dramatic turnaround.
The Arizona Cardinals have a better offense than the Tennessee Titans by several metrics and this is without star quarterback Kyler Murray. To prove the point most clearly, the Arizona Cardinals are in the top half of points scored per game and 18th in offensive yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans rank third and second worst in those categories, respectively. Ironically, the Arizona Cardinals have a better offense with the Titans backup quarterback than the Titans are managing with their current starter. DeAndre Hopkins wanted to extend his prime at 31 years old and instead went to one of the worst offenses in the league. He would likely be having more success if he never decided to leave the desert.