One NFL writer believes the Patriots do not present the best fit for DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins has been rumored to be on the trading block for a while now, and New England has been one of the teams most frequently attached to the star wide receiver in rumors. The Patriots desperately need a true WR1 in their Mac Jones-led offense and Bill Belichick’s admiration for Hopkins is well-documented.
But as Bill Barnwell identified the ideal next teams for a handful of free agents and trade candidates, the ESPN scribe looked outside of Foxboro for Hopkins.
“For the Panthers, this would lock in a No. 1 receiver for the first two years of their new quarterback’s career,” Barnwell wrote in a column published Wednesday. “They would sport a much older receiving corps than we see for most rookie quarterbacks — they would be starting Hopkins and Adam Thielen in Week 1 — but there’s nothing wrong with locking in experienced receivers before working in cheaper options as the quarterback (hopefully) gets closer to earning an extension.
“Hopkins wouldn’t get an extension, but he would get his 2024 salary guaranteed and have one more shot at free agency in 2025. This isn’t a perfect deal for everyone involved, but he would get an additional year of guarantees, the Cardinals would unload salary and get a meaningful draft pick, and the Panthers would get two years of a WR1 at a cost well below market value.”
The Panthers definitely should be in the Hopkins market after losing former top wideout D.J. Moore in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears. Hopkins himself might be open to this potential trade, too, as it would signal a homecoming of sorts for the South Carolina native who played collegiate ball at Clemson.
And if Carolina is going to trade for Hopkins, it might be soon. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Tuesday reported trade talks for the five-time Pro Bowl selection were “ramping up.”