The New England Patriots on Tuesday reportedly addressed the organization’s biggest offseason concern with the hiring of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien is expected to take over the play-calling duties after a lost season featuring Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
And while the decision to reportedly bring O’Brien back to New England was met with unanimous praise, it didn’t take long for Patriots fans to jump to the next order of business. Ironically, though, that next order of business is somewhat related to the incoming play-caller.
Patriots fans had expressed in recent weeks that, should New England want to add a true No. 1 receiver, perhaps Bill Belichick and company could acquire DeAndre Hopkins, who has been involved in trade rumors in recent weeks. And the addition of O’Brien, who spent six seasons with Hopkins as part of the Houston Texans, prompted many to think the two could reunite in New England three years later.
But there were others who questioned whether the hiring of O’Brien might actually prevent any Hopkins trade. After all, the pair’s relationship in Houston wasn’t great.
Hopkins previously shared that he had “no relationship” with O’Brien. “There’s not a lot to speak about,” Hopkins told Sports Illustrated in April 2020 after his trade to the Arizona Cardinals one month prior. The trade away from O’Brien and company was an outcome Hopkins said he wanted.
Also at the time, O’Brien emphasized the trade of Hopkins was made with the team in mind. “Capital T, capital E, capital A, capital M,” O’Brien told reporters in April 2020. “Everything that we do is made with the team in mind. We don’t think about one player.” It wasn’t exactly a positive endorsement of the wideout.
Many didn’t forget those events Tuesday morning.
There also was a group that questioned whether Belichick, should he truly desire Hopkins, could smooth things over between O’Brien and the talented pass-catcher. And, well, maybe. But it seems for now the Patriots addressed their biggest need and can figure the rest out later.