In 2022, NFL wide receivers cashed in on a lucrative market, and teams made aggressive moves to acquire top-tier talent at the position.
The Miami Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill, and the Philadelphia Eagles acquired A.J. Brown. They significantly elevated their respective team's passing offense in a playoff year. DeAndre Hopkins could do the same for his new club.
On May 26, the rebuilding Arizona Cardinals released Hopkins, and he would like to stir up more interest before making a decision on his next destination, per ESPN's Dianna Russini.
Unlike Hill and Brown, Hopkins is slightly past his prime. Going into his age-31 term, he's three years removed from a Pro Bowl year. Over the last two seasons, he has missed 15 contests because of injuries and a six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, which factored into the decline in his production.
Nonetheless, the Clemson product ranked 10th in receiving yards per game (79.7) last season. When available and healthy, he's still a go-to wideout.
Like his short time in Arizona with Kyler Murray, Hopkins can become a young quarterback's most reliable perimeter playmaker for an upstart squad.
Here are five teams that would immediately enter the playoff discussion with him on the roster. None of these clubs clinched a 2022 postseason berth and will likely start a young signal-caller in 2023.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith expects Desmond Ridder to "take the next step" in development. To help him, the front office has bolstered the young signal-caller's supporting cast.
The Falcons signed wideout Mack Hollins, who recorded career highs in catches and receiving yards with the Las Vegas Raiders last year. They also selected running back Bijan Robinson and offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron in the first two rounds of the 2023 draft.
The Falcons can make a bigger splash before training camp with the addition of Hopkins. With wideout London Drake (6'4", 213 lbs) and Kyle Pitts (6'6", 246 lbs) in the fold, Atlanta would have an unstoppable trio of pass-catchers in the red zone. Moreover, they can use their size advantage all over the field.
In four career starts, Ridder, 23, has completed 63.5 percent of his passes, and he could reach about 70 percent with Hopkins, who's registered a catch rate of at least 65.6 percent in the previous five campaigns.
Atlanta may field a solid passing attack with Drake, Pitts and a sprinkle of Robinson, though Hopkins can put the aerial attack over the top. In a wide-open NFC South division, a team with a high-level passing offense could run away with the division.