DeAndre Hopkins’ time in the desert has come to a close.
The Arizona Cardinals released Hopkins on Friday, they announced.
Hopkins has two years remaining on his current contract and has a cap hit of $30.7 million before dropping to $26.2 million in 2024.
With the move, the Cardinals free up $8.1 million in cap space, but take on a dead-money hit of $22.6 million in 2023.
If they don’t trade or release the No. 1 receiver on or before June 1, they would have freed up $19.4 million in 2023 and $14.9 million in 2024 — the remainder of Hopkins’ contract — but would take an $11.3 dead-money hit. million in each of the next two seasons.
News of the move comes after the wide receiver told him and new Cardinals general manager Monty Osenfort. “good conversation” After the latter’s arrival in the desert where the future is not necessarily centered. During offensive coordinator Drew Betzing’s introductory press conference on Feb. 23 (Thursday), first-year head coach Jonathan Cannon said he had not yet spoken with Hopkins but was looking forward to it.
Hopkins broke his silence on the matter in April, saying he didn’t want to lift the now-deleted Twitter post.
Amidst all the trade speculation, a few teams have been linked to Hopkins, including the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Ahead of Thursday’s draft, Hopkins friend and former NFL defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones reported All three are possibilities.
Hopkins hired an agent to help with contract negotiations after previously representing himself.
In 35 games over the past three seasons, the wideout has recorded 2,696 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns on 221 catches.
Despite missing time in 2021 due to injuries (seven games), Hopkins paced all Cardinals pass catchers with eight scores.
There was a similar display from the wideout, who led the team in receiving with 717 last season.
That’s not to say availability hasn’t been an issue during the wideout’s tenure in Arizona, going from inactive for two contests from 2013-19 to missing 15 games over a three-season span.
It’s no secret that the Cardinals were at their best with Hopkins on the field. Defenses are forced to keep extra eyes on the wideout, opening up other holes to exploit, and he gives quarterback Kyler Murray the unquestioned No. 1 option.
In their only full season in 2020, Murray turned in his best season as a pro behind 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had 819 yards and 11 scores on the ground.
Hopkins was Murray’s biggest target that season, leading all Cardinals pass catchers in yards (1,407), catches (115), targets (160), catches (527), first downs (75) and at least 20 plays. receiving yards or more (17). He tied then-Cardinals WR Christian Kirk for receiving touchdowns (six).
With Hopkins out, the Cardinals could make Hollywood Brown their No. 1 option at WR next season. Rondale Moore, Zach Pascal and Greg Dortch also see their fair share of targets in their respective roles.