New England Patriots

DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals warms before a game against the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The DeAndre Hopkins rumors and nuggets have absolutely skyrocketed since the Arizona Cardinals released him. And details are emerging on the money.

Hopkins is finally on the open market after months of trade rumors and other assorted scuttlebutt, which has certainly made for a fun NFL off-season at times. It’s ramped back up big-time after any potential trade fizzled out, and the Cardinals moved on by absorbing more than $21 million in dead money (via Over The Cap).

So, Hopkins won’t get that kind of money on his next contract. But his reported initial demands are still setting a high bar for potential suitors.

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  • As reported by Tim Graham in The Athletic last week, two anonymous NFL executives said Hopkins seeks a deal similar to what Odell Beckham Jr. signed with the Ravens: one year, $15 million, $3 million more in incentives. Albert Breer followed up on this for SI on Monday, writing that he’d be “pretty stunned” if Hopkins could get a deal approaching those numbers anywhere in the league.

    Breer also reiterated a prior opinion that Beckham’s deal with the Ravens, in actuality, “has had an adverse effect on the Hopkins market.”

    Beckham is not an unfair comp for Hopkins, as they are both over 30 years old as they hit the market. Hopkins turns 31 on Tuesday. He’s been a much more productive receiver in recent years, with 6.5 catches per game since 2019, versus 3.8 for Beckham.

  • GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 10: Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 17-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

  • The problem is, Hopkins seems to be viewed around the league as relatively high-maintenance and the kind of player whose workload and methods wouldn’t fit well just anywhere. Those anonymous execs told The Athletic that they’re concerned about Hopkins’ “practice habits” – meaning, he takes plenty of days off from practice.

    That doesn’t seem like something that would go over well with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, who are still known as one of the most intense teams in the league when it comes to preparation and practice. But Belichick also seems to have loosened his leash on that in recent years. The Patriots ostensibly had plenty of key veterans taking at least one voluntary OTA off last week, with Matthew Judon, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Trent Brown, Lawrence Guy, and Nick Folk among 12 absences.

    But if the Patriots bring Hopkins in, and it’s basically as a part-time worker compared to the rest of the team, it’s likely the money would be well short of $15 million. That may not be as high a number for a receiver as it used to be, but it feels like a big investment for the DeAndre Hopkins Experience™.

  • The Patriots still have Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker, in addition to free-agent addition Smith-Schuster and second-year pro Tyquan Thornton. Though the Patriots reportedly have shown some level of interest in Hopkins in free agency, it still sounds like a deal would only work if Hopkins comes way down from his initial number.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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