ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals GM: Excited DeAndre Hopkins ‘is on the team with me right now’

Feb 23, 2023, 7:47 AM | Updated: 8:34 am

It’s a bit of non-news worth circling that new Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort hasn’t spoken with receiver DeAndre Hopkins since an introductory meeting a few weeks ago.

Then, as it is now, the Cardinals are in the early stages of evaluating the roster.

What Ossenfort will say is that, for now, he is looking forward to working with Hopkins. It remains to be seen whether that’s about working with the Pro Bowl wideout to find a trade partner or working with him to stick with a rebuilding team.

“I had a great talk with D-Hop a couple weeks ago. I just discussed what my philosophy was,” Ossenfort told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “D-Hop’s been a great player in this league for a long time. I’m excited to work with him.

“I think any roster decisions (like) that, we’re in the early stages right now. I would say, from afar … I’ve been on teams that have had to compete against D-Hop, and I know what a problem and a stress he puts on defenses. I’m excited to have D-Hop on the team and really as it goes — whether it pertains to D-Hop’s situation or anybody’s situation — we’re in the early stages of evaluating that. But I’m excited D-Hop is on the team with me right now.”

In an NFL where flipping a roster from dumpster fire to competent is not unheard of, there is the possibility the Cardinals find a reason to hang on to their top receiver. Possibly, it would take convincing.

Hopkins, who will turn 31 this summer, appeared in a career-low nine games this season after appearing in just 10 last year. Knee injuries have cropped up in the past two seasons.

While he still produced 717 yards despite missing eight games in 2022, his physical style and age could push him to seek a new home away from a potential rebuild in Arizona.

The week before Super Bowl LVII in Arizona, Hopkins said the talk he had with his new GM went well, but the receiver’s future was not a topic brought up.

“Right now, it’s just day by day,” Hopkins said of his focus. “Those decisions and that process is above my head but right now, I’m a Cardinals man and I’m trying to win a championship here.

“I love Arizona,” the wide receiver added when talking about the area. “It reminds me of South Carolina a little bit — just chill mountain views, just relaxed vibes. Good people here, good food and the culture here is amazing. It’s an underrated city for real.”

In what world would it somehow make sense that Hopkins returns to Arizona despite a dead cap future that goes from $22.6 million to $33.9 million if he’s not traded before or on June 1?

Well, if the Cardinals can convince him and themselves there will be a competitive product entering the year.

How Arizona utilizes the third overall pick, the draft as a whole and being third on the waiver wire could determine how improved they get during a long offseason. Ask Ossenfort, and it’s possible to make a sizeable leap from the four-win club in 2022.

“There are definitely pieces in place on this team. There is talent available on this team and we need to add talent,” Ossenfort said. “It’s already begun. We went through a week of unrestricted free-agent meetings with our pro staff. We just finished yesterday with 10 days of meetings with our college staff, so we got through that. We got the coaching staff together and we’ll explain to them what their role is in the evaluation process.

“With the guys we’re planning to add, we’re going to be able to add enough pieces to put together a competitive roster this year.”

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