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Cardinals Release Hopkins, What Happens Next?

The Arizona Cardinals have officially released DeAndre Hopkins.

What a twist of events. After months of trade rumors, DeAndre Hopkins will finally head to a new team. The rumors of his departure were running rampant and many believed the Cardinals were lined up to trade him on draft day.

That weekend came and went with Hopkins still on the teams roster. After the draft, it was believed Arizona and Hopkins would stick together, at least for now. Many of the rumors stopped until this week. Arizona posted the news to their twitter account this morning.

How did this happen?

As stated prior, rumors were swirling for months that Hopkins would be traded. This stemmed from the teams play last year, which was among the worst in the league despite starting the 2021 season 7-0. Hopkins previous team, the Houston Texans, suffered a similar collapse a few years prior, so his frustration and want to be a part of a successful organization is warranted.

Hopkins is 31 years old this season and takes up 30 million of the cap on a rebuilding team. The move made sense for both parties, but why didn’t Arizona trade him instead?

Well that answer isn’t very simple, but there are some things we can infer. Arizona had been known to have a high asking price for Hopkins, which was part of why a deal never got done.

At some point, teams probably realized that asking point was too high and a deal wouldn’t accumulate anywhere. By that logic, Arizona either kept or released him. Arizona chose the latter setting many teams up with a chance at an elite wide receiver.

What it means for the Cardinals

Arizona will have 22.6 million in dead cap to pay this season, but Hopkins’ contract officially comes off the books after this season.

The Cardinals have a sneaky talented receiving core despite the loss. Marquise Brown will take over as the teams number one wide receiver, while Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch play supporting roles. While the Cardinals lose arguably their best player, they don’t create a massive hole at the receiver position. I believe the talent already accumulated at the position made them feel comfortable releasing Hopkins, especially considering this won’t be a playoff year for the Cardinals.

What this means for Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins now gains full control of his next team. He has stated in interviews this past week that he wants a team with a leader at quarterback, stable management, and a monstrous defensive line.

With Hopkins past two teams collapsing in his presence, it’s easily understandable why winning would be important to him

With those thoughts in mind, the teams he could go to come down to the Chiefs, Bills, and Eagles among others. All of those teams perfectly fit what Hopkins is looking for.

With Buffalo, Hopkins would more than likely be a wide receiver two behind Stefon Diggs. He’d have a chance at a ring, but he wouldn’t be the main target.

The same could be said about Philadelphia. Hopkins would probably get more reps alongside AJ Brown, but he still might not be the main target. However, the Eagles have the upper hand by having more cap space than both Kansas City and Buffalo.

That leaves Kansas City, who doesn’t have a true number one wide receiver since the loss of Tyreek Hill. They recently lost Juju Smith-Schuster in the offseason and are in need of a prime target for Patrick Mahomes. Hopkins fits that bill and could easily elevate the reigning Super Bowl champions even further. Signing to the Chiefs would be great for both parties, as the Chiefs get a clear number one receiver for their franchise quarterback and Hopkins gets a prime opportunity for his first ring.

I think Hopkins lands in one of those three destinations, most likely Kansas City. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hopkins is wearing green and black next season.

A New Beginning

Both Arizona and Hopkins can officially cleanse from the drama this past offseason. The Cardinals can move forward with their guys and Hopkins can go get himself the ring he deserves. While Arizona didn’t get anything in return, this is a victory for both parties.

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