The Arizona Cardinals confirmed the release of DeAndre Hopkins on Friday, after months of trade speculation.
The move means that Hopkins now gets to choose the best fit for himself, pending interest from the other party, of course. While we don’t yet know where he will land, we do know the five quarterbacks he would love to catch passes from, which he revealed during an appearance on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast. They were: Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Let’s examine the fit for each of those options.
Earlier this week, DeAndre Hopkins went on @IAMATHLETEpod and listed the 5 QBs he'd love throwing him the ball…
Now he has a choice ???? pic.twitter.com/dK0POIsgew
— PFF (@PFF) May 26, 2023
The Ravens have invested heavily at wide receiver this offseason, adding Boston College’s Zay Flowers in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft after signing Odell Beckham Jr. as a free agent. The Ravens have had just one wide receiver see 50 or more targets produce a PFF receiving grade of 75.0 or better since 2019. That was Marquise Brown, who they traded away during the 2022 NFL Draft. If the Ravens can make the money work cap-wise, adding Hopkins would confirm this as the best wide receiver room of the Lamar Jackson era.
The Bills have Stefon Diggs, who ranked fifth among wide receivers with an 89.0 PFF receiving grade in 2022, and Gabe Davis, who ranked 12th in the NFL with 351 yards from passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield last season. Outside of that, though, their wide receivers are somewhat unproven. Adding Hopkins, who tied for 17th with an average of 1.98 yards per route run in 2022, would make a lot of sense, but there’s some salary cap work to be done to make it happen.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs still won the Super Bowl without a bona fide WR1 in Tyreek Hill, whom they traded away to the Miami Dolphins last offseason. However; it’s difficult to see Patrick Mahomes not being able to make some magic happen with someone like Hopkins on the field. Hopkins dropped just one of the 65 catchable passes thrown his way in 2022, while Mahomes dealt with 26 drops last season, tied for eighth most among quarterbacks.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers already have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and added Quentin Johnston out of TCU in the first round of the draft this year. Still, Allen and Williams combined to miss 11 games in the regular season last year. Despite playing in just nine games in 2022, Hopkins had 11 contested catches. Providing quarterback Justin Herbert with another player who can win in those situations doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
A.J. Brown (88.9) and DeVonta Smith (81.1) both produced higher PFF receiving grades than Hopkins (73.5) a year ago, but the idea of them forming a trio is something that should have Eagles fans very excited. Adding Hopkins to this group would give Jalen Hurts three contested-catch monsters to go win the ball for him.