Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins reportedly lost significant leverage over trade landing spot

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is one of the biggest names being floated as a potential trade candidate this offseason. However, the NFL star might not have much input with his future after something that happened last season.

Hopkins, entering his age-31 season, could be on his way out in Arizona. He played in just 19 total regular-season games over the last two years and carries one of the largest salary cap hits by a non-quarterback in the NFL next season.

  • DeAndre Hopkins contract: $30.75 million cap hit (2023), $26.215 million cap hit (2024)

For Arizona, a franchise with a new regime and Kyler Murray still recovering from a torn ACL, the upcoming 2023 season will likely end with the club toward the bottom of the NFL standings. Heading into a potential transition year with financial challenges ahead, trading Hopkins this offseason becomes a likely outcome.

Related: 4 offseason moves Arizona Cardinals must make

It sets the stage for Hopkins to potentially be dealt for the second time in his career. A five-time All-Pro selection, the 6-foot-1 wideout used his leverage in contract negotiations to receive a no-trade clause in his current deal.

Ordinarily, that would allow the perennial Pro Bowl selection to have complete control over where he is traded. Hopkins could evaluate the suitors interested in him and then decide which situation is best for the remainder of his career. However, that reportedly won’t be an option.

  • DeAndre Hopkins stats (2022): 64 receptions, 717 receiving yards, 11.2 yards per catch

According to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, Hopkins’ no-trade clause was avoided immediately after the NFL suspended him for violating its policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Hopkins missed the first six games of the 2022 season after he tested positive for Ostarine. As described by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Ostarine helps mimic the effects of testosterone and increases muscle growth.

It is prohibited by major sports, including UFC and is on the WADA list of banned substances. He later revealed the NFL’s test determined he had trace amounts of it in his system, but the suspension was upheld.

  • DeAndre Hopkins career stats: 853 receptions, 11,298 receiving yards, 71 touchdowns

While Hopkins loses the no-trade clause, there still might be a path for him to have some control over where he is traded. The $30.75 million cap hit is likely more than any contending team would be comfortable having on its cap sheet next season.

Related: Arizona Cardinals hire Jonathan Gannon

As a result, Hopkins could create leverage through contract negotiations to narrow down his list of suitors. While it still won’t give him total control over the outcome, it should provide him with some input if he is going to be traded.

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