Cardinals Release DeAndre Hopkins, Trade Attempts Fail As All-Pro WR Hits Free Agency

Photo: Instagram/DeAndre Hopkins

In a surprising move, the Arizona Cardinals have decided to part ways with star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, marking one of the biggest surprises of the NFL offseason.

Despite efforts to find a trade partner for Hopkins, the Cardinals ultimately had to release him. As a result, Hopkins now has the freedom to sign with any team he chooses.

His contract, which he signed when he was traded to the Cardinals in 2020, includes a cap number of $29,988,890 in 2023 and $25,453,886 in 2024. The Cardinals will incur a dead cap of $21,077,776 with this release, providing them with $8,911,114 in cap space. Some may wonder why the Cardinals didn't designate Hopkins' release as a post-June 1 designation.

Photo: Instagram/DeAndre Hopkins

According to former agent Joel Corry, CBS Sports reports that Arizona couldn't have utilized this designation even if they wanted to. The NFL permits teams to use only two post-June 1 designations per year, and the Cardinals had already used theirs on J.J. Watt and Rodney Hudson.

By using a post-June 1 release, the dead cap could have been spread out over the next two years. Before deciding to release Hopkins, the Cardinals made efforts to trade him, but unfortunately, no suitable trade partner was found.

ESPN reports that while Hopkins' $19.45 million base salary was non-guaranteed, it posed a challenge for any team interested in acquiring him. The presence of Odell Beckham Jr.'s $15 million contract created a perception that Hopkins wouldn't accept a reworked deal for a lower salary.

Interestingly, Hopkins himself admitted that he didn't seek a raise if he were to be traded to another team. Throughout his career, Hopkins has achieved remarkable milestones, including the eighth-most receiving yards in NFL history (11,298) and the fourth-most receptions after ten seasons (853).

Despite only playing nine games last season, he still managed to average 7.1 catches per game (ranking fourth in the league) and 79.7 receiving yards per game (ranking tenth in the league). He has been honored as a first team All-Pro three times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times in his ten NFL seasons.

With Hopkins now free to choose his next destination, the teams he has expressed interest in and the quarterbacks he prefers to play with will likely come into consideration. During an appearance on the I AM ATHLETE podcast, Hopkins revealed that he would like to play with quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert.

He emphasized the importance of stable management, a quarterback who has a passion for the game and motivates those around him, as well as a strong defense. In the days ahead, Hopkins will have the opportunity to pursue these preferences and seek a team that aligns with his desired criteria.

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Source: CBS Sports

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