Posted on: July 17, 2023, 11:21h.
Last updated on: July 17, 2023, 11:35h.
DeAndre Hopkins still thinks he has plenty of football left in him and the Tennessee Titans agree. The Titans will acquire the All-Pro wide receiver, making Hopkins the first big free-agent signing this offseason.
Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported that the Titans will offer Hopkins a two-year contract that could be worth $32 million with incentives. Hopkins will earn $12 million as a base salary in 2023, plus $3 million in incentives.
Hopkins was a standout wide receiver with Clemson and the Houston Texans selected him with a late first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Hopkins, 31, earned All-Pro honors five times as a member of the Texans. He was also named to the Pro Bowl five times.
During the 2017 season, Hopkins led the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions in 15 games. He tallied 11-plus touchdowns in three different seasons with the Texans.
During 10 seasons in the NFL, Hopkins caught 71 touchdowns and 853 receptions.
The New England Patriots were the favorite to add Hopkins in free agency after they hosted him for a visit. The Patriots hired Bill O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator, and he had a previous relationship with Hopkins. O’Brien was the former head coach of the Texans, and some of Hopkins’ best offensive seasons happened under O’Brien.
The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs were also interested in Hopkins, but the Titans outbid everyone, including the Patriots.
Cardinals Cut Hopkins in May
Hopkins spent seven seasons with the Texans before they abruptly traded him in 2020. The Arizona Cardinals secured Hopkins in one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history. The Texans sent Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. Fans in Houston believed their beloved Texans were robbed by the Cardinals. Johnson scored only four touchdowns in 25 games with the Texans and started in only 16 games during a two-season stint in Houston.
Hopkins didn’t exactly rack up huge numbers with the Cardinals, and he appeared in only 35 games in three seasons. He missed seven games in 2021 with a torn MCL. He missed the start of the 2022 season while serving a six-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
In 35 total games with the Cardinals, Hopkins caught 221 passes for 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 12.2 yards per catch with the Cardinals versus 13.6 with the Texans.
In nine games last season, Hopkins caught 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns. The Cardinals were 4-13 in 2022 and lost their last seven games of the season.
Hopkins was the subject of trade rumors since the season ended, but the Cardinals cut him in May in a financial move. If the Cardinals kept Hopkins, they’d incur a $30.75 million cap hit. The Cardinals missed out on acquiring draft capital or any other players by cutting Hopkins instead of trading him.
Titans Make Huge Upgrade with Hopkins
The Titans were one of the worst passing teams in the NFL last season. They ranked #29 out of 32 teams by averaging only 171.4 receiving yards per game.
The Titans had only two instances last season in which one of their wide receivers caught for more than 100 yards in a single game. Hopkins achieved that feat in just nine outings with the Cardinals last season.
Despite numerous trade rumors that the Titans would unload star running back Derrick Henry, they still have him on the roster. All signs suggest the Titans will keep Henry for now.
With the addition of Hopkins, the Titans have two of the most intimidating offensive weapons in the NFL. Henry can gash you on the ground and Hopkins can beat you in the air. Hopkins recently shared a photo of himself and Henry on his Instagram account.
“I always loved having haters and doubters but I appreciate it even more now. Titan up!!” added Hopkins on his Twitter feed.
The Titans were 7-10 last season but finished in second place in the AFC South. Oddsmakers installed the Titans with a win total of 7.5 over/under for this upcoming season.
The Titans are +250 odds to make the playoffs, according to a postseason prop bet by DraftKings. They are -300 odds to miss the playoffs.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the betting favorite to win the AFC South at -155 odds, and they’re ahead of the Titans (+350), Indianapolis Colts (+600), and Texans (+800).
The Titans are +5500 odds to win the AFC Championship as the third-lowest team on the futures board.
The Titans are a long shot at +8000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII. The Cardinals are at the bottom of the futures board to win the Super Bowl at +20000 odds.