Matthew Judon has not relented in his attempts to recruit DeAndre Hopkins to New England.
The Patriots’ Pro Bowl edge rusher shared a funny exchange with Hopkins in the free agent wide receiver’s Instagram mentions Monday afternoon.
“Y’all seen the pats logo in the background,” Judon commented on a video of Hopkins working out, to which the wideout replied with two crying-laughing emojis.
As far as we can tell, there weren’t actually any Patriots logos in Hopkins’ offseason highlight reel. But there have been numerous reports linking him to New England since the Arizona Cardinals released him last month.
Close to a half-dozen prominent outlets have indicated the Patriots have interest in the five-time Pro Bowler. The latest report came from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who wrote Monday that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien “would be plenty on board with” New England signing Hopkins despite their complicated history. (O’Brien, Hopkins’ head coach in Houston, controversially traded him to Arizona in 2020.)
The Patriots also have the necessary salary cap space to sign Hopkins, giving them a potential edge over rumored suitors like the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. New England has far longer Super Bowl odds than those teams and does not boast an elite quarterback, but Hopkins did not list either of those factors when explaining what he’s looking for in his next team.
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“(I want) a QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him and pushes not just himself but people around him,” Hopkins said on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast before his release. “I don’t need a great QB. I’ve done it with subpar QBs. Just a QB who loves the game like I do.”
Hopkins also listed “stable management” and “a great defense” among his priorities. The Patriots check all three of those boxes, with Judon — who’s made recruiting pitches to countless free agents over the last two offseasons — headlining a defense that ranked third in Football Outsiders’ DVOA last season.
Featured image via Scott Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images