ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell sees logical landing spot for Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins

Mar 22, 2023, 1:29 PM

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals lines up during the NFL game against the...

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals lines up during the NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 30-23. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The trade speculation surrounding Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins rolls on with each passing day of the offseason. For many, it’s a matter of when not if Hopkins will be moved.

That naturally leads to the next question: where will Hopkins call home come Week 1?

ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell took that thinking into account while taking a look at the best fits around the league for 10 free agents and two trade pieces.

When it came down to the No. 1 wideout, Barnwell found the Carolina Panthers as the most logical fit to acquire Hopkins’ services.

The price? A third-round pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft

In this deal, the Panthers would send the No. 93 selection to the Cardinals, who would pick up $10 million of Hopkins’ $19.5 million base salary in 2023. Carolina would also guarantee Hopkins’ $14.9 million salary for 2024, putting it on the hook for two years and $24.4 million.

Barnwell adds that Hopkins would not receive an extension from Carolina but would see his 2024 salary become fully guaranteed before becoming a free agent in 2025.

With Carolina on track to use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback, the move would give the incoming rookie a solid pair of hands alongside free-agent addition Adam Thielen.

On the Cardinals’ side of things, they would be left with a bill of $10 million in base salary agreed upon in the deal but pick up a third-rounder for their current rebuild.

The trade, though, would carry a dead money hit of $21 million in 2023 for the Cardinals since it would take place before June 1, per OverTheCap.com.

This isn’t a perfect deal for everyone involved, but he would get an additional year of guarantees, the Cardinals would unload salary and get a meaningful draft pick, and the Panthers would get two years of a WR1 at a cost well below market value.

Despite missing six games due to suspension and two more thanks to injury, Hopkins still paced Arizona behind 717 receiving yards. He was second in catches (64), touchdowns (three) and plays of at least 20 yards (eight).

If Hopkins were to be dealt, Arizona’s wide receivers room under coach Drew Terrell features Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch. Auden Tate and Javon Wims also signed futures deals this past January.

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