DeAndre Hopkins market could include Deshaun Watson reunion on Browns
May 30, 2023, 10:29 AM
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Quarterback Deshaun Watson knows he is not the ultimate decision-maker regarding his team’s roster. That said, he did nothing on Tuesday but toss the Cleveland Browns into the reportedly “robust” market for former Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
“Me and D-Hop, we just naturally talk,” Watson told reporters Tuesday. “He’s always been a brother of mine since I was coming out of high school. I know there’s a lot of things swirling around in the media about him possibly coming to Cleveland.
“For me, my answer to that is of course we would love to have him. He knows that. We had a lot of connections, but that’s kind of out of my range of kind of coordinating things. All I can do is make a call and let (Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry) do the rest.”
Watson and Hopkins, who both played collegiately at Clemson, teamed up on the Houston Texans from 2017-19, which included the receiver’s career-best season of 1,572 yards on 115 catches in 2018.
Arizona released Hopkins on Friday, freeing up eight figures worth of cap space in the 2024 season in the process. The move allows Hopkins, who turns 31 years old next Tuesday, the opportunity to take visits as a free agent.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Tuesday that a market for Hopkins remains “robust.” There will be complications because Hopkins will not be sacrificing what’s possibly his last multi-year contract opportunity with knee injuries in his rearview mirror from the past two seasons.
Hopkins, who self-negotiated the contract he was released from, had hired an agent before Arizona waived him to work through complications of compensation in the case of a reworked deal. Now, he will work on an entirely new deal with Klutch Sports’ Kelton Crenshaw, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“This is a player who will want a deal most likely commensurate with his skill set,” Fowler said, adding Hopkins would be open to joining the Browns.
Fowler adds that the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs still loom. Hopkins on the I Am Athlete podcast before his release from the Cardinals said Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Chiefs signal caller Patrick Mahomes were on the short-list of the top QBs he would want to play with.
Hopkins added that he doesn’t necessarily need to play with a Pro Bowler under center.
The Bills have $2.4 million in cap space, while the Chiefs currently project at $1.6 million. That appears, at the moment, far from the middle ground of playing for a contender while making something worthy of Hopkins’ level of production when healthy — last year that was 717 receiving yards in just nine games of action.