Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues to be the focal point of trade talk. He now has permission to talk to other teams.
Via Albert Breer of SI.com, Hopkins has received permission to shop his contract elsewhere.
Hopkins has a non-guaranteed compensation package of $19.45 million in 2023. He turns 31 on June 6.
Hopkins, who not long ago was the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, has slipped as the market exploded. And while the market will still generate major dollars for the best of the best, the availability of young, healthy receivers makes it hard to justify giving significant dollars to aging players with injury issues and, in Hopkins’s case, a six-game PED suspension last year.
Even though he insists he didn’t intentionally consume performance-enhancing drugs, the positive test happened. The suspension happened.
Although Hopkins’ salary isn’t guaranteed, the Cardinals may have to pay some of it to facilitate a trade. If they can’t find a taker, they need to ask whether to carry a $30.75 million cap number to keep him on the team — or to cut him, at a cap charge of $22.6 million.
After June 1 (or with a post-June 1 move now), the Cardinals could split the cap hit over two years, $11.3 million in 2023 and $11.3 million in 2024.
For now, the Cardinals prefer to unload the contract while also getting value. To get value, they may have to pay some salary.
For a new team, the challenge may be figuring out a contract that makes Hopkins happy. Part of this process may result in Hopkins realizing the numbers won’t quite be where he thought they’d be.