A DeAndre Hopkins trade could be even more likely due to a positive drug test last spring.
The Cardinals wide receiver had a no-trade clause in his last contract extension, but according to CBS Sports, that no longer exists because of a PED suspension. Of course, that opens up a world of possibilities to Arizona, who could create a real bidding war and receive much higher compensation.
“The no-trade clause in Hopkins’ contract voided when he was suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season because of violating of the league’s performance enhancing substances policy,” Joel Corry writes.
- Massachusetts online sports betting is coming soon. Learn more about the top sportsbook operators coming to MA such as BetMGM Massachusetts and Barstool Sportsbook Massachusetts
So it’s now significantly easier for new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort to find the right deal. As Arizona eyes a rebuild with Kyler Murray coming off ACL surgery, the 30-year-old wide receiver with two years left on his deal is a logical trade candidate.
He’d certainly be a game-changing target for the Patriots. With Hopkins in the fold, Mac Jones would finally be armed with a No. 1 receiver in the realm of Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill — and Bill Belichick loves his game.
“He’s got tremendous ball skills,” Belichick said ahead of their meeting this season. “He catches everything. Has great hands. He’s long so he’s never covered, even if he’s covered there’s a place where the ball can be that he can get it and still make the catch. Great coordination on the sidelines. And he doesn’t really look it, but he’s a strong kid. You see him break tackles. He’s a strong kid in terms of creating separation on routes, yards after contact, tough yards like around the goal line or that extra yard for a first down type of thing.
“He’s a smart football player. Very savvy. I’d say his ball skills are at the very elite level of guys that I’ve seen in this league. He’s up there with whoever the top guys are. The Cris Carters of the world. Guys like that. I think he’s every bit as good as anybody I’ve ever coached against.”
The Cardinals would have to eat some dead money in a deal, but that’s the cost of moving forward. If traded to New England, Hopkins’ cap hits would be $19.5 million in 2023 and $14.9 million in 2024.
One road block could be Hopkins’ past relationship with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but John Perry, who was their wide receivers coach in Houston, believes fences could be mended easily.
“I think adult relationships are always complicated no matter what you do. But the thing is when you look at DeAndre Hopkins and his relationship with Coach O’Brien, both of them brought out the best in each other,” Perry told MassLive’s Mark Daniels. “I still have a strong relationship with coach (O’Brien) and with DeAndre. He and I speak all the time.
“I know they would easily be able to work together again because they’re both professionals and both want the same thing, which is just to play at a high level and give their team the best opportunity to win.”
Without a no-trade clause, Hopkins now has less leverage regardless.