With Deandre Hopkins still being on the market as arguably the most talented free agent left unsigned, it appears that the list of potential teams that could sign him may have slimmed down. In the past few days, the New England Patriots have lost steam for landing the amazing veteran wide receiver.
Last season in his nine games with the Arizona Cardinals, Hopkins proved that he still had more than enough in the tank to be a number-one wide receiver for a very solid team. He finished the shortened season with 64 receptions, 717 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
If the Patriots were able to land him, it could have been incredible for the growth of quarterback Mac Jones. Throughout the course of the year, Jones would struggle to hold onto his starting spot and would suffer a huge drop off from his rookie season. In his rookie campaign, Jones threw for 3801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, but in the 2022 season, he would struggle throwing for only 2997 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Throughout the past few years, teams have begun to learn that without a star receiver, it is very difficult for young quarterbacks to adjust to the professional level.
A few examples of this include the Cincinnati Bengals drafting Ja’Marr Chase to aid Joe Burrow, the Miami Dolphins making a blockbuster trade to land Tyreek Hill for Tua Tagovailoa, and the Philadelphia Eagles making a draft day trade to add A.J. Brown to their roster to help Jalen Hurts’ growth.
If the Patriots are in fact out of the D Hop sweepstakes, they will have a rough-looking receiving core heading into the 2023 season. Even with the addition of Juju Smith-Schuster over the offseason, Jones will not have much help in the receiving core.
In the past few days, the Tennessee Titans have emerged as the front runners to land Hopkins. While this would be a peculiar landing spot considering Hopkins previously stated that he wanted to play for a contending team with a top quarterback, the Titans likely were the only team that offered him a deal with a salary that matched his expectations.
If Hopkins were to join the Titans, it would be a very interesting fit. The team would have two elite players at skill positions in Hopkins and Derrick Henry, however, with the lack of up-to-par quarterback play, they still will greatly struggle to make a postseason run. While the Patriots could still make a comeback and find a way to add D Hop to their roster, it appears that they have squandered their chance and he will be suiting up for a different team in the 2023 season.
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