The Los Angeles Chargers have put together a strong body of work during the 2023 NFL offseason. After a historic collapse in the AFC Wild Card round of the playoffs last year, it's clear that the Chargers will be looking to take a step forward and finally reach the tantalizing potential they have shown so frequently throughout the Justin Herbert era.
While many of the big moves of the offseason have been made, the NFL was sent a collective shockwave on Friday afternoon when it was announced that the Arizona Cardinals had decided to release star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had been involved in trade rumors all offseason long, but after being unable to find a willing partner, the Cardinals opted to cut their losses with their top wideout.
Hopkins is going to be a very hot commodity on the free agent market, and one of the teams that will likely sniff around him are the Chargers. Los Angeles has made some big moves on offense this offseason, but that shouldn't deter them from trying to sign Hopkins here. So with that being said, let's look at why the Chargers should pursue Hopkins after his release from the Cardinals.
3. The Chargers have the cap space to sign DeAndre Hopkins
The first obstacle many teams will face when it comes to potentially signing Hopkins is their salary cap situation. One of the big reasons nobody traded for Hopkins was because of the money on his deal with the Cardinals, and while he won't make that sort of money on his new deal, it's clear that signing him isn't going to be cheap.
Los Angeles finds themselves in a decent cap situation, though, as they have just over $12 million available to spend if they so please, and they could almost certainly create more space if they wanted to. This is a league average situation, but it's better than what other suitors such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are currently facing.
Having money available is a necessity here, and the Chargers find themselves with the funds available to make a deal happen. It wouldn't require them to go through some serious cap gymnastics in an effort to force a deal to happen. Right off the bat, the ability to easily create cap space to land Hopkins is an appealing reason to target him.
2. DeAndre Hopkins is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL
Of course, signing players just to sign players isn't good business, but Hopkins isn't just any player. This is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL when he's operating at his peak capacity, and there haven't really been any signs of decline from him on the field to this point. Whoever lands Hopkins will be getting a top-tier wide receiver.
Hopkins played in just nine games for the Cardinals last season after getting suspended for the first six games of the season and then getting shut down for the season early, but when he was on the field, he looked like his typical self (64 REC, 717 YDS, 3 TD). Given his suspension and all the problems Arizona's offense was dealing with last season, it makes Hopkins' output even more productive.
The Chargers already have a strong wide receiver corps, but Hopkins would come in and make an already dangerous offense even better. On an offense that already features Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, it's telling that Hopkins would be the best of the bunch, which shows why he is going to be such a sought-after player.
1. DeAndre Hopkins came out and said he would like to catch passes from Justin Herbert
It hasn't really been a secret that Hopkins has been involved in trade rumors this offseason, and he's been pretty open in discussing them for the most part. Hopkins has made it clear he wants to play with some teams and quarterbacks more than others, and one of the quarterbacks he said he would love to catch passes from recently was Herbert.
It's easy to see what the allure is with Herbert; he's got a cannon of an arm and has proven to be one of the best pure passers in the NFL early on in his career. He's already been good without Hopkins, but adding in arguably the best all-around wide receiver in the NFL over the past decade would make him even better somehow.
Even with all the receiving talent the Chargers already have at their disposal, the potential to add Hopkins is something that may be too good for LA to pass up. They have the money available to do so, and Hopkins is clearly interested in joining them too. It's not necessarily something they have to do, but given all that we know about this situation, it's clear that the Chargers should be one of Hopkins' top suitors.