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Even as details of the DeAndre Hopkins free agency tour have come to light in recent days, with the first stop scheduled with the Tennessee Titans and next stop with the New England Patriots, it’s becoming increasingly clear there’s a common thread.
And something is a bit amiss.
The thread is Hopkins is in demand among these two teams that are desperately needing wide receiver help. Hopkins is the biggest name receiver available and so the Titans and Patriots are tying to address significant roster voids.
Hopkins Help For Mac Jones?
For Hopkins, meanwhile, the tour is taking a somewhat surprising path. He seemed to be setting himself up for a reach at a Super Bowl in free agency when he was released by the Cardinals. Remember when he was talking about playing on a team with a great defense and outstanding quarterback?
Everyone was thinking the free agent receiver would somehow be headed to the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs or some other Super Bowl contender with an elite quarterback.
Everyone thought he’d have a chance to play with Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes.
Then Hopkins agreed to visit the Titans starting on Sunday.
And now comes the confirmed news he’s also planning to visit the Patriots after that.
So not Allen or Mahomes at this stage.
More like Ryan Tannehill and Mac Jones.
DeAndre Hopkins Adjusts Expectations
This is obviously a case of the market adjusting expectations.
Hopkins expected a line of great teams lining up for a perennial Pro Bowl player. He’s getting teams with significant needs lining up instead.
The Titans have one of the most unproven receiver corps in the NFL right now. They could really use Hopkins.
The Patriots aren’t far behind.
New England’s presumptive starting receivers are currently journeyman JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is about to play for his third team in three years, Miami Dolphins castoff Devante Parker, and second-year pro Tyquan Thornton.
It makes sense for New England to kick the tires on Hopkins, especially with Bill O’Brien as the team’s new offensive coordinator. O’Brien was the coach for the Houston Texans when Hopkins had six 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-2019.
O’Brien did also trade Hopkins to Arizona in 2020 but that apparently is all forgotten now.
DeAndre Hopkins Reunion With Bill O’Brien?
The Patriots can use some help. And Hopkins could help.
About that: It will be interesting to see to what degree the Titans and Patriots are willing to commit to Hopkins.
The player would obviously welcome a high-price, multi-year deal.
It’s more than likely he’s going to be offered something more modest than that and perhaps even a one-year deal.
But the fact there are now two teams interested is good for Hopkins. Competition can lead to Hopkins getting a better deal.
Even if it’s not competition among teams with Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.