DeAndre Hopkins released by the Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins released by the Arizona Cardinals

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

DeAndre Hopkins released by the Arizona Cardinals


After months of speculation about where Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will play in 2023, a huge contract creating a tepid trade market helped contribute to the star’s release Friday, May 26. He’s now free to sign with any team of his choosing.

Arizona is likely headed nowhere in 2023 with a first-time head coach and starting quarterback Kyler Murray recovering from knee reconstruction. The release of Hopkins is not designated as a June 1 cut, thus accelerating all $22.6 million of dead money to this year’s cap, which is the sixth-highest individual hit of all time. In other words, the Cards are phoning it in.

The move thrusts Marquise Brown into the WR1 role for the Cardinals. Wideouts Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, Zach Pascal and rookie Michael Wilson all figure to vie for a larger role. With veteran tight end Zach Ertz (knee) also recovering from an ACL tear, look for second-year tight end Trey McBride to push for a prominent role, too.

Dortch flashed a few times in 2022, while Moore has yet to assert himself as he has fought injuries in each of his two pro seasons. Wilson is a possession outlet whose talent has been overshadowed by an inability to stay on the field. Pascal has bounced around the league of late, landing on this third team in as many years. Hollywood Brown is the only safe fantasy bet out of this lot, and he’s simply not a true No. 1, so his ascension on the depth chart may actually work against him.

As for Hopkins himself, he has missed time in the last two years with injuries and a suspension. Being a vested veteran, signing anywhere is on the table, but one has to presume he will want to play for a contender after knowing only floundering franchises in his NFL career. Turning 31 in June, he’s out of his prime, though his natural hands and precise footwork will keep him in the argument of being a low-tier No. 1 for most teams.

Hopkins said on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast,

“What I want is stable management upstairs,” Hopkins said. “I think that’s something I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career coming from Houston and then to Arizona. I’ve been through three or four GMs in my career, so a stable management. A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him and pushes not just himself but everybody around him. … And a great defense. A great defense wins championships.”

Look for him to land with any of Buffalo, Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland, and the New York Giants. Less likely spots include New England, Tennessee, Atlanta, and Carolina as wild-card options in the event one of the contenders isn’t interested. Finally, don’t write off Detroit, Green Bay, and the Los Angeles Rams.

Pairing with Deshaun Watson as a fellow former Clemson standout is intriguing. If we’re buying into the desire for organizational stability, scratch off Cleveland. The best landing spot for fantasy purposes has to be KC or New York. He’d make fine sidekick in LA, Minnesota or with Buffalo.

Hopkins’ monster contract was a hindrance in his trade market, so now it’s all about how much less he’s willing to take to play for a real chance at a Lombardi Trophy.

While we don’t know where he’ll play, expect a floor of No. 3 PPR and a ceiling in the midrange No. 2 zip code.


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