Patriots reportedly ‘leaders’ in DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes, others still lurking


It's now been almost two weeks since free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins visited with the Patriots in Foxborough, and we finally have a little bit of an update on where things stand.

According to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, who spoke on ESPN Radio Tuesday, the Patriots sound like the leaders in the hunt for Hopkins’ services, however the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers are “still lurking”.

Prior to this reporting, it seemed as though the Tennessee Titans and the Patriots were the only ones currently in the running. With just over three weeks until training camp, more teams are now starting to pop up.

The last real “news” out of New England was from ESPN’s Mike Reiss over ten days ago, who reported that Hopkins leaving Foxborough after his visit “doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for the two sides possibly coming together closer to or into the start of training camp. Reiss also echoed the reporting of NFL Network’s Jason McCourty who said that current Patriots players “feel really good about the visit.”

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It’s still very much a waiting game as, according to Jeremy Fowler, Hopkins has considered waiting until closer to training camp in late July to make a decision.

If Hopkins were to sign in Cleveland, it would reunite with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who he played with in Houston. The Clemson products shined together during their time with the Texans before now Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien shipped the wide receiver out for pennies on the dollar.

Should Hopkins end up in Carolina, he’d give rookie quarterback Bryce Young an immediate security blanket to throw to as he continues navigating the gauntlet that is the NFL. The three-time All-Pro would be quite the addition to a room that already includes Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Laviska Shenault among others.

The Patriots begin training camp on Wednesday, July 26th with veterans reporting three weeks from today. It’s still very much unknown if Hopkins will be one of those veterans.

With more teams continuing to squeeze themselves into the running, now would be the time for New England to get this thing across the finish line.

Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick, and follow @WEEI for the latest up-to-date Patriots and Boston sports news!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon, USA Today Sports