Before the Arizona Cardinals released him last week, DeAndre Hopkins said he’d seen the rumors linking him to the New England Patriots.
Hopkins, who is free to sign with any team after being cut by Arizona last Friday, shared a clip from the Patriots’ iconic Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons that was playing on a gym television. Several hours later, he deleted the video.
The brief snippet of Tom Brady tossing a touchdown pass to James White could be completely unrelated to Hopkins’ plans for free agency, but it caused a stir among Patriots fans hoping to see the five-time Pro Bowler sign with New England.
New England can’t offer the clear path to a championship that other potential suitors like the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills can, but it does meet the criteria Hopkins detailed. In an interview with the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast last week, the soon-to-be 31-year-old said he wants to join a team with “stable management,” a quarterback “who loves the game” and “a great defense.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has raved about Hopkins’ talents in the past, and though he’s past his prime, the former Houston Texans standout immediately would become the most dangerous weapon in a New England receiving corps that currently features JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton, Tre Nixon and sixth-round rookies Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas.
Hopkins caught 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinals last season after sitting out the first six games for a PED suspension. Multiple reports after his release indicated the Patriots were among the teams interested in signing him.