The Buffalo Bills have emerged as one of the top suitors to land Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, an incredibly exciting development since the franchise is in need of a solid WR2 behind Stefon Diggs, and he more than fits the bill.
However, if a trade is going to happen, whether it be with the Bills or any other interested team, the Cardinals will need to lower their asking price. On Saturday, March 25, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler revealed Arizona is looking for a “Christian McCaffrey package” to part with Hopkins.
While a trade is expected to happen in the near future, the Cardinals “have to come off their asking price,” Fowlers said on SportsCenter. “Talking to other teams, they say that Arizona has wanted a second-round pick and more, maybe even as high as like a Christian McCaffrey package. We’re talking second, third, fourth-round picks. They will probably have to come off that to deal Hopkins, who has got $19 million in salary due to him. So, you still have teams like the Bills and the Chiefs and big-ticket teams that are at least looking, window shopping at potential options at receiver.”
In nine games last season, the former first-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft recorded 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 11.2 yards per catch.
Analysts & Fans Slammed the Cardinals’ Expected Offer Price
While Hopkins, who turns 31 June, is still playing at an elite level, for the Cardinals to expect offers equivalent to what the Carolina Panthers bagged from the San Francisco 49ers for McCaffrey (26) mid-season last year, seems far from the realm of reality. Especially after wide receiver Brandin Cooks only cost the Cowboys a fifth and sixth-round pick.
WROC-TV’s Thad Brown tweeted, ” If AZ is even remotely trying to stick with ‘2nd round plus,’ then they may not be able to accept what the market seems to dictate for him,” while noting the high asking price “could be a leak from the other side. Let the Cardinals see how ridiculous the ask is and see if they back down.”
There’s no doubt that Hopkins would make for a great addition to the Bills roster, but they would need to restructure his contract to make him fit financially. After making a flurry of moves in free agency and restructing several major contracts, Buffalo has approximately $9.8 million in cap space, and need a good portion of that for the NFL Draft.
Spotrac.com tweeted that “a full cap conversion” along with three void years “can lower his $19.45 cap hit” to a much more manageable $4.8 million for the 2023 NFL season. The Bills would also have to get creative with the $14.915 million salary Hopkins is due in 2024.
Bleacher Report surmised, “The Cardinals are likely in a rebuilding phase under new general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon. It’s understandable why they would have a high price to trade Hopkins, but they might be forced to settle for a lesser offer as negotiations continue to drag on with the draft approaching on April 27.”
Hopkins Hinted He’d Like to Join the Bills on Instagram
While it is sometimes hard to decipher when athletes share cryptic posts on social media, Hopkins kept things pretty straightforward when he shared a photo of himself on his Instagram Stories with Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” playing in the background.
The three-time All-Pro receiver would come cheap salary-wise, but according to Fox Sports analyst Henry McKenna, if/when the trade price comes downs to say, “a mid-round pick,” it would be a “no-brainer” for Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane to pounce on the opportunity.
“Frankly, there’s a chance that Hopkins wants to be a Bill more than the Bills want him. Of the teams that are interested in Hopkins from Jones’ list, Buffalo is the most desirable landing spot,” McKenna wrote. “It’s easy to imagine quarterback Josh Allen reigniting the star receiver’s career. It’s easy to imagine Stefon Diggs taking coverage off Hopkins. It would be an absolutely spectacular passing attack.”