May 27, 2023
From the moment news broke that superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins was being released by the Cardinals, contending teams in the NFC East were suspected to be interested.
The Eagles do not exactly have a need at wide receiver — they have a pair of 1,000 yard pass catchers returning in their early prime in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith — but there is obviously an opportunity to improve on their third receiver who is currently Quez Watkins.
Watkins and Hopkins are two different kinds of receivers, and it seems unlikely Hopkins will get the volume he is looking for with the Birds. But he did go on the record saying he would love to play with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, so maybe he'd be willing to play third fiddle to have a chance at a Super Bowl.
The Cardinals will have to pay Hopkins (a massive tax hit north of $22 million this year), so in theory he'll be open to signing at a reasonable rate this season.
Are the Eagles a real target? What about their rivals from the NFC East in the Cowboys and Giants, each of whom are in greater need of receiving help than Philly?
Here's what the so called experts are saying:
Dallas is possibly the second best team in the NFC behind the Eagles, with the 49ers still suffering through a quarterback health issue. With aging corners in Darius Slay and James Bradberry, the last thing the Birds want is to have to deal with is covering Hopkins twice a year. Over at ESPN, Fowler suspects the Cowboys are among the NFL's most interested teams in the 30-year-old future Hall of Famer:
Urgency is heightened in Dallas entering Mike McCarthy's fourth season. The Cowboys should have an elite defense and will need to ensure production on the other side. Dallas has several receivers already, so this doesn't feel like a slam dunk to get involved, but at the right price I could see the Cowboys having interest. With CeeDee Lamb as the No. 1 and Brandin Cooks as the vertical threat, Hopkins can be the isolation matchup receiver with elite ball skills for Dak Prescott. He can play in the slot or on the outside in that offense. The Cowboys have around $9 million in cap space, which is middle-of-the-pack in the league. There is not a ton of space, but it's enough to make something happen here. [ESPN]
Another outlet that projects Hopkins to the Cowboys — and it's because of that same sense of urgency:
It's been three decades since the Cowboys made it as far as the NFC Championship Game, and if that long, dry spell doesn't inspire urgency something else should. Lamb, edge-rusher Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs are all nearing the end of their rookie deals. The salary cap situation in Dallas is going to get really dicey, really soon. The time for a "win now" mentality is, well, now.
And there isn't an owner in the league who wants another championship more than Jones.
As things stand now, the Cowboys are about $10.5 million under the salary cap—the room is there if the deal is structured properly to get Hopkins on the team.
Given what he could do for the NFL's No. 14 passing attack from last year, the Cowboys have to strongly consider taking a run at him. [Bleacher Report]
Would Daniel Jones be an actual quarterback to be concerned with if he had someone like Hopkins to throw the football to? The Eagles probably don't want to have to find out:
Daniel Jones wasn't on Hopkins' list, but the Giants have a glaring need for a big-bodied receiver in their offense. New York has a robust group of pass-catchers but none can threaten a defense every snap like Hopkins can and the only reliable offensive weapons right now are running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Darren Waller. Add Hopkins to that group and the Giants could again be in the playoff hunt. [Yahoo!]
The national team at NBC Sports broke down five teams they could see Hopkins going to, and along with the Bills, Panthers, Lions and Patriots they included the Giants.
The Giants' last big-time splash at wide receiver turned out to be a disaster. New York signed Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal in 2021, and he went on to make 43 catches for 602 yards and one touchdown over two seasons before being cut this past March.
That, however, shouldn't dissuade the G-Men from making a move for Hopkins. While New York is loaded with options at wideout, they lack a true No. 1 option. The Giants already provided $160 million man Daniel Jones with a top tight end this offseason by trading for Darren Waller, and they'd be wise to follow suit at wide receiver. [NBC Sports]
You didn't think the Eagles would escape without Hopkins rumors did you? In a city that sees basically every big ticket player linked to every team, outlets think that Philly should, or is seriously considering adding the five-time All-Pro to an already loaded roster.
The defending NFC champions are a natural fit for Hopkins, as they have arguably the best general manager in the league in Howie Roseman, his second-favorite quarterback in Jalen Hurts, and a top-five defense. Hopkins would be the most overqualified WR3 in the league behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and the Eagles could provide him everything he's looking for. Roseman is certainly never afraid at taking big swings if he thinks it can improve the franchise. [CBS Sports]
And finally over to The Athletic, where their Eagles beat writer makes the case for Hopkins:
The Eagles don’t need DeAndre Hopkins, considering their combination of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith is among the best in the NFL and both command a significant percentage of the target share. Add in the presence of tight end Dallas Goedert, and Hopkins could almost assuredly find a place where he’s higher on the priority list in the offense — and potentially a place that would pay him more. But if Hopkins wants to play with Hurts and desires a high-powered offense that has a legitimate chance of winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles would fit the profile. They also lack high-end depth at the position, with Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus as the Nos. 3 and 4 receivers. What happens if Brown goes down? What happens if Smith goes down?
There’s an element of fantasy football to this conversation, although the Eagles have shown a willingness to take on high-profile veterans who could be chasing rings. Any serious interest would require an understanding of how Hopkins would fit with Brown and Smith, considering they’re building block players in Philadelphia. But when a team is as primed for the Lombardi Trophy as the Eagles, one should never say never about adding available talent. [The Athletic]
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