Who Does Hopkins Help
I don’t doubt that DeAndre Hopkins could walk onto any team and be a #1 or #2 WR, except for maybe in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Miami, and Tampa Bay. But what about the teams that need D-Hop the MOST? Well, it just so happens that I know which teams need him desperately. In no particular order, here are the teams that would benefit the most by signing Hopkins:
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rogers was kind of a jerk (for multiple reasons) when he left Green Bay. One of those reasons is because he took just about every decent Wide Receiver that Green Bay had with him to the Jets. Christian Watson is now the Packers number one wide receiver, and he’s a second-year guy with 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven TDs. Keep in mind that was with a four-time MVP QB throwing to him. WR2 on the depth chart is also a second-year player, Romeo Doubs, who had 42 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. Green Bay’s “third best” WR is rookie Jayden Reed who they drafted out of Michigan State with the 50th overall pick in round two, and it only gets worse from there.
The next three Wide Receivers that the Packers have on their depth chart have a total of (drum roll please!) ONE YEAR of NFL experience. If ever there was a team that needed a top-tier, veteran WR, it’s the Packers.
The top three Wide Receivers for the Ravens have a combined seven games played, 15 receptions for 285 yards and two TDs in the 2022 season. No other team in the NFL was even close to this lack of actual playing time and production from their starting WR lineup. Rashod Bateman accounts for ALL that action! Odell Beckham Jr, didn’t play a single snap last season, coming off knee surgery from tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl with the Rams. That was OBJs second torn ACL by the way. Then, there’s Zay Flowers, who Baltimore drafted in the first round of this year’s draft. Fun fact is that all these WRs were drafted in the first round, so if we’re going by “draft pedigree”, this would be an awesome threesome. Instead, it’s the most uncertain group of Wide Receivers in the NFL. They would be doing themselves, and their fans, a huge favor by signing Hopkins for at least one season.
I’m going to say some names that you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re a Titans fan. Trylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Chris Moore. Ok, maybe you’ve heard of Chris Moore, since he’s played six years in the NFL (four with Baltimore and two with Houston), but his best season was just last season with 48 receptions for 548 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee acquired Moore through free agency, Burks is a second-year player who posted 33 receptions for 444 yards and one TD, and Westbrook-Ikhine (how do they fit all of that on the back of a jersey?!) will be starting his fourth season in the league (all with the Titans), which will probably be as mediocre as his first three seasons. Unlike Green Bay, at least this trio has a chance to succeed by having veteran QB Ryan Tannehill under Center and one of the best Running Backs, Derrick Henry in the backfield. I’m sure even Tannehill’s mouth waters at the thought of getting a four-time Pro-Bowler like Hopkins.
New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs
The Saints and Chiefs are two teams that could also use a stud WR like D-Hop. New Orleans has a similar situation to the Ravens and OBJ, with their WR2 Michael Thomas, who has been riddled with injuries and hasn’t played much over the last few years. Thomas missed the entire 2021 season due to a severe ankle injury sustained in 2020, and then only played three games in 2022 because of a dislocated toe. At lease WR Chris Olave racked up over a thousand yards for the Saints last year in his rookie campaign and should only get better with veteran QB Derek Carr new to New Orleans.
The Chiefs…I’m not even going to talk about them getting Hopkins because nobody outside of Kansas City wants to see that happen. Mahomes and Hopkins? That would be awful for every other team. Let’s not think about that.
Where DeAndre Hops To
In May DeAndre Hopkins explained in an interview what his “requirements” were for the next team that he decides to play. First was “stable management” due to having three or four GMs in his career. Second was a Quarterback “who loves the game” but doesn’t necessarily need to be a “great quarterback”. Third was a team that has a “great defense” because, as we all know, defense wins championships. I’m not going to question which QBs “love the game” as it’s all conjecture from anyone outside of those individuals. However, we can look at which organizations are “stable”, and which teams have the best defense. Taking these into consideration, we should be able to narrow down the options for our dear friend, DeAndre
Stability AND Defense
The Rooney family has owned and operated the Steelers since before they were even called the Steelers. In addition to that, Pittsburgh has only had three Head Coaches in the last 54 years: Chuck Noll from 1969 to ’91, Bill Cowher from ’92 to 2006, and Mike Tomlin since 2007. Defensively the Steelers weren’t bad, but they have seen better days. In 2022 they finished 13th in yards allowed per game, 10th in points allowed, and tied for 9th in turnover differential at +4.
Jeffrey Laurie has owned the Eagles since 1994, and in that time, he has had five different GMs: Andy Reid was one of those GMs from 2001 to ’05, and Howie Roseman has been the GM since 2010. Philly’s defense is one of the best in the league, ranking second in fewest yards allowed per game, eight in fewest points per game, and third for turnover differential. HOWEVER, as mentioned before, the Eagles don’t need Hopkins because they already have one of the best receiving corps in the league. So, Philly is officially outJ!
The Ravens have only been around since 1996 and in that time Charm City has only had one Owner, Steve Bisciotti, and two GMs: Ozzie Newsome until 2018, and currently Eric DeCosta. Defense is how the Ravens have won their two Super Bowl titles. Last year the Ravens finished in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed per game, fewest points allowed per game, and turnover differential.
The defense should be even better this year with Roquan Smith starting the season with the Ravens, and we’ve already covered their WR needs.
New England Patriots
Answer: Bill O’Brien! Do you remember when I mentioned him in the very beginning as being the Head Coach in Houston when DeAndre Hopkins was there? O’Brien didn’t think that D-Hop was a core player, or a team leader and Billy played a major role in trading Hopkins out of Houston. Now O’Brien is the Offensive Coordinator for the Patriots. Um, yeeeaaahhhh….if I’m Hopkins, I’m passing on the Pats altogether, unless there really aren’t that many suiters interested in him. The only way this scenario plays out, is if O’Brien and D-Hop kiss and make up, and if there’s a big bag of money that the Bills (Belichick and O’Brien, not Buffalo) are willing to hand over to Hopkins. The Pats currently have about $15M is cap space, so cash shouldn’t be an issue either.
The D-Hop Stops Here
Baltimore just sounds like a match made in heaven for both sides. I’m not sure why is there seems to be a lack of interest from Ravens, and multiple sources had them as a front-runner in the “Hopkins Sweepstakes”. If the Ravens were to sign D-Hop, they would be a Super Bowl contender, which I’m sure is something that that 31-year-old would also like to be a part of as well. Baltimore has one of the highest winning percentages of any NFL team, and they acquired new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, who promised to let Lamar loose and open more of a passing offense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like B-More is willing to loosen up the purse strings with their $10M in cap space.
The Patriots are making the push. Their starting Wide Receivers aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either, so, Hopkins would be a welcome addition. New England signed JuJu Smith-Schuster who posted 78 receptions for 933 yards and three TDs with the 2022 Super Bowl Champs, Kansas City Chiefs.
Devonte Parker, who only played in 13 games with the Pats, had 31 receptions for 539 yards and three touchdowns, and Kendrick Bourne pulled in 35 catches for 434 yards and just one touchdown. Behind them on the depth chart, it’s a lot of inexperience. If the Patriots can land D-Hop, which I believe they will, it would be the biggest Wide Receiver signing for them since Randy Moss. It will make the AFC East with the Bills (the Buffalo ones this time), the Jets and the Dolphins a hell of a lot more exciting to watch, and perhaps the best division in the NFL. Thanks for the “read”!