We've heard about DeAndre Hopkins trade rumors for months. Yet the three-time All-Pro wide receiver is still on the Arizona Cardinals roster within a week of the 2023 NFL draft.
In January, Jordan Schultz of The Score reported that the Cardinals planned to trade Hopkins. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, potential trade suitors ramped up talks with Arizona after the Houston Texans dealt wideout Brandin Cooks to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2023 fifth-rounder and a 2024 sixth-rounder.
The Cardinals haven't been able to find a deal that satisfies their initial demands, though. Per the MMQB's Albert Breer, clubs want Arizona to drop its compensation price for the wideout.
"The Cardinals' initial ask, to get a second-rounder and another asset for Hopkins, seems to have fallen flat, and there are teams waiting to see the price come down in the wake of the Brandin Cooks trade. To try to facilitate something, I'm told Arizona has granted teams permission to talk to Hopkins and his agents. But the combination of his age, injury history and friction with the teams he's played for has made him a tougher sell than I think the Cardinals anticipated."
About a week later, Breer shared a thought from around the league that the Cardinals may outright release Hopkins, which means interested clubs can hold on to draft capital and court the accomplished receiver on the open market.
Over the past week, Hopkins tweeted that he doesn't want a raise, but he deleted the tweet. While Hopkins may actually want a salary bump, the Cardinals wideout appeared on the Pat McAfee Show in March and said (h/t Rapoport) that he would be "flexible" on the final two years of his contract.
Perhaps general managers want to see who they're able to draft in an average class of wide receivers before making a strong push for Hopkins.
Like last year, we could see a blockbuster trade for a wideout during the first round of the draft. The Philadelphia Eagles acquired A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans, and the deal worked out for them. He posted career highs in catches (88) and receiving yards (1,496) while quarterback Jalen Hurts became an MVP candidate.
Playoff contenders with a need at wide receiver should keep tabs on Hopkins' trade-market value. Also, the Cardinals may be willing to include him in a package deal with the No. 3 overall pick.
With that said, we've narrowed down Arizona's potential trade partners to five teams based on roster need, schematic fit and draft circumstances. Which proposal should the Cardinals take? You be the judge.
Bills Aim to Field Best Wide Receiver Duo in 2023
Arizona Cardinals receive: DT Ed Oliver, 2023 third-round pick (No. 91 overall)
Buffalo Bills receive: WR DeAndre Hopkins
The Bills have been linked to Hopkins for weeks.
According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, the Bills "headline" Hopkins' trade market.
Apparently, the Bills and Hopkins have mutual interest. Von Miller told reporters that the 30-year-old wideout would like to play in Buffalo.
"You just never know until you know. Hop said he wanted to be a Buffalo Bill and you never know until you get that DeAndre Hopkins signature on a contract. I'm not sure what the circumstances are or what's going on with that, but I would love to see DeAndre Hopkins be here and I would love to have his skill set on our offense with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox and Gabe Davis. How could we lose with those guys?"
The Bills may be willing to make a move for Hopkins during the draft if they're not heavily sold on the available top wideouts while on the clock at 27. Though Stefon Diggs has blossomed into a star, Gabe Davis' contract will expire at the end of the 2023 campaign.
As 1A and 1B receivers in the Bills offense, Diggs and Hopkins would tear through pass defenses all year, making a claim for the league's top receiver tandem. Quarterback Josh Allen could post record-breaking passing numbers with that pair at wideout.
To acquire Hopkins, the Bills should offer a third-round pick in the upcoming draft along with Oliver. As a top-10 pick from the 2019 draft, he's recorded underwhelming numbers, with 14.5 total sacks and no more than 18 pressures in any of his seasons, per Pro Football Reference.
Perhaps Oliver needs a change of scenery to reach his full potential. Arizona must restock talent along the defensive line following J.J. Watt's retirement and the loss of Zach Allen in free agency. The Bills and Cardinals could address each other's needs with a draft-day swap.