Five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins is available and seeking a contender. The Lions, who could be in the market for another receiver, are favored to win the NFC North. Is there a match to be made between DeAndre and Detroit?
Hopkins was released Friday by the Cardinals, after making it rather clear he wanted out of Arizona. He said earlier this week that he's looking for three things in a new team: "Stable management upstairs, something I haven't really had the past couple years of my career ... a QB who loves the game and who brings everybody on board with him ... and a great defense. A great defense wins championships."
Hopkins added that he didn't "have a Pro Bowl quarterback" in Arizona, with Kyler Murray recovering from a torn ACL. Jared Goff made the third Pro Bowl of his career last season while finishing seventh in the NFL in passer rating (99.3), between Joe Burrow and Josh Allen.
Goff didn't make Hopkins' list of quarterbacks he said he'd like to play with moving forward -- he named Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert -- but the Lions could give Hopkins a chance to return to the playoffs and chase the first championship of his career. You can thank their stable management for that. Their defense, which finished last in the NFL last season, obviously remains a question.
Hopkins turns 31 in June. It remains to be seen what he's seeking on the open market, but the Lions have the third most cap space ($25.5 million) in the NFL. And with Jameson Williams suspended for the first six games of the season, they have a need for a clear No. 2 receiver and go-getter behind Amon-Ra St. Brown. Hopkins would fit the bill. It's a matter of cost and locker room fit.
The biggest question regarding Hopkins entering his 11th NFL season is his reliability. He's missed 15 games the last two years to injuries, including a torn MCL, and a PED suspension. Still, he was the Cardinals' leading receiver last season despite playing in just nine games, catching 64 passes for 714 yards. That was good for fourth in the NFL in receptions per game and 10th in yards per game. (St. Brown ranked 9th and 14th in the same categories.) In his last full season, 2020, Hopkins was the NFL's third-leading receiver.
Hopkins' peak came a few years ago with Deshaun Watson and the Texans, where he was a three-time All-Pro. Still, he's a force when on the field and would be quite the weapon in Ben Johnson's offense in Detroit. The Lions are going for it this season, and Hopkins would give them an immediate boost. Whether he'd even consider signing with Detroit is an unknown. But if there's mutual interest, Brad Holmes might have another big move up his sleeve.
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