The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a disastrous 4-13 season that saw star quarterback Kyler Murray go down with a torn ACL and, eventually, the departure of head coach Kliff Kingsbury. A clean slate is where the team now stands, which means more change is around the corner with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins likely to be moved.
According to Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki, the expected return in a potential trade of Hopkins has been set.
“Per source the Cardinals do have parameters to trade DeAndre Hopkins more likely after free agency starts. As reported second round pick and conditional pick or player.”Mike Jurecki on DeAndre Hopkins trade
With the NFL free agency period officially beginning on March 15 when the 2023 league year begins, we can safely assume to expect a multitude of rumors involving Hopkins firing up next week, whether they make sense or not.
Most fans would probably prefer to see “Nuk” — who turns 31 in June — finish out the last of his finest years catching passes from a dynamic quarterback like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Lamar Jackson, wherever he ends up playing.
While some of this is fun to live in fantasyland, reality quickly comes swinging through once the five-time All-Pro’s bloated contract is taken into consideration.
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Given that Hopkins is due $19.45 million in 2023 and $14.91 million in 2024, the Arizona Cardinals asking price of a second-round pick and either a conditional pick or another player to be involved sure sounds like a lot. Some cap maneuvering wizardry will probably need to come into play in order to make this work for any relevant team.
Related: DeAndre Hopkins linked to one team in trade talks
Which teams are already lurking for DeAndre Hopkins’ services?
The Dallas Cowboys are already said to be “monitoring” the Hopkins trade market and that would honestly be straight fireworks to see him lining up alongside CeeDee Lamb.
But then again, since “D-Hop” doesn’t have a no-trade clause, whoever comes to the table with the most flexibility and the freshest goods is where he will end up.
New Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has zero ties to Hopkins even being on the Cardinals, so catering to the receiver’s destination preferences probably doesn’t make it on his to-do list of key priorities.
The value is there, though. As mentioned, the Arizona Cardinals were a roaring mess last season and yet the star wide receiver — who missed the first six games of the 2022 season due to suspension — still managed to average just shy of 80 yards receiving in the nine starts he made.
One has to believe that both playing for a functional franchise and getting in a full season would lead to seeing a healthy uptick in Hopkins’ numbers.
Since the Cowboys are already reportedly laying out interest, next week — when teams can truly show their affection — should be completely off the rails when free agency is off and running.
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