What DeAndre Hopkins’ Projected Contract Could Mean For Patriots

Hopkins might need to settle for a major pay cut


May 30, 2023

NFL teams weren’t interested in trading for DeAndre Hopkins when his salary for the 2023 season was $19.45 million. So, it’s not surprising that the star wide receiver is expected to command less than that in free agency.

Much less, in fact.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer on Tuesday speculated Hopkins’ next contract will be worth “something around half of what he would’ve made on his now terminated deal in 2023, with some incentives to get him closer to being whole.”

“But at this juncture of the offseason,” Breer added, “even getting there could be a challenge.”

Half of Hopkins’ previous salary would be a little under $10 million. That’s a very reasonable price for a five-time Pro Bowler, even one who turns 31 next week and missed 13 games due to injury and suspension over the last two seasons.

Odell Beckham Jr., who’s five months younger than Hopkins, got $15 million from the Baltimore Ravens earlier this offseason despite not playing at all in 2022. Hopkins caught 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns in nine games last season and led the NFL in receptions in Weeks 7 through 14.

The New England Patriots, who reportedly are interested in Hopkins, wouldn’t have much trouble fitting a $9-10 million salary under their cap, especially if his signing coincides with the trade or release of DeVante Parker ($6.2 million in cap savings) or Kendrick Bourne ($5.5 million). But given their current status as a mid-tier team, the Patriots might need to offer a more lucrative deal to beat out Super Bowl contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills for Hopkins’ services.

The Chiefs and Bills, who as of Wednesday had the best and third-best Super Bowl odds, respectively, on FanDuel Sportsbook, were the “only two (teams) that engaged Arizona in trade talks” before the Cardinals released Hopkins last Friday, per Breer’s report.

It’s unclear whether Hopkins has any interest in signing with the Patriots and reuniting with Bill O’Brien, his former head coach in Houston and New England’s current offensive coordinator. But the Patriots meet the next-team criteria he outlined last week (stable management, a quarterback who loves football and a great defense), and head coach Bill Belichick spoke glowingly about him last season. Hopkins also said before his release that he’d heard “rumors” about New England’s interest in him, and he raised eyebrows Monday by sharing a (since-deleted) Patriots-related video on his Instagram story.

The Patriots took steps to improve their pass-catching corps this offseason by signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki in free agency and taking late-round fliers on Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas in the 2023 NFL Draft. But they still lack a true No. 1 receiver and certainly could benefit from adding a player of Hopkins’ caliber.

Thumbnail photo via Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports Images
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