It's been over a week since DeAndre Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals, and while there isn't necessarily a rush for him to sign anywhere, it's telling that he is still sitting on the free agent market for the taking. Not many teams have seemed overly interested in bringing him on board, which is fairly surprising given all that Hopkins has accomplished throughout his career.
In a sense, the door has been left wide open for the New England Patriots to pounce and try to finally add a true top-tier wide receiver to their offense. The Pats have some decent options in JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, and Kendrick Bourne, but it's clear that none of these guys come anywhere close to being the player that Hopkins is.
And yet, you can't help but feel like the Patriots are part of the contingent of teams that have no desire to court Hopkins currently. This isn't the first time we have seen a talented wide receiver pop up on the free agent market that Bill Belichick completely ignored, and while it's clear Hopkins would be a great fit with New England, there's no sense in getting excited about him potentially finding his way to New England.
Why the Patriots aren't going to land DeAndre Hopkins
The reasoning for signing Hopkins should be quite obvious; this guy is a baller. Hopkins played in just nine games last season, but still managed to put together a strong statline of 64 catches, 717 yards, and three touchdowns, which made even more impressive when you consider he only played in five of those games with his starting quarterback in Kyler Murray.
Hopkins has admittedly had some availability issues over the past few seasons, but when he's on the field, he's still one of the most impactful wide receivers in the league. He had a big contract with the Cardinals, and their trade demands weren't exactly reasonable, which is why he got released in the first place. Not trading for him made sense, but now there aren't any excuses.
That doesn't mean the Patriots are going to sign him, though, let alone pursue him. The Pats have $12.2 million in cap space to play with, which is certainly enough to make a real offer to Hopkins, and they can create more space pretty easily if they want to as well. But this is just the sort of move that Belichick has never really made during his time with New England.
It's clear to anyone with a basic understanding of football that the Pats have a clear need at wide receiver. Yet Belichick has really done nothing to address the position to this point in the offseason. Again, signing Hopkins is a logical move, but where the rest of the league goes one way, Belichick often likes to go the other way.
There have been various strange signs on social media from Hopkins that indicate he may be considering joining New England, but social media sleuths love to put more weight into that stuff than is truly necessary. Hopkins has indicated in a handful of interviews that he is lukewarm at best when it comes to heading to New England, meaning he would likely take less money to go play for a better team.
The chilly market for Hopkins is a bit interesting, but the Pats haven't really been a team to capitalize on such situations in the past. The outside perspective that New England needs wide receiver help isn't something that Belichick is concerned about. If he feels the position is fine as is, he won't bat an eye at Hopkins for as long as he's a free agent.
Belichick himself hasn't been shy in his admiration of Hopkins before, but now the Patriots have Hopkins' former Houston Texans coach in Bill O'Brien running their offense, and those two weren't particularly the best of friends during their time shared down south. Would that be a bridge the two could mend, and is that even something Belichick wants to put on the line when implementing a new offense?
There's no doubt that this should be a home run move for the Patriots to make, but there's no sense in believing that a deal will happen because it looks good on paper. Adding DeAndre Hopkins would give Mac Jones the best pass-catching option he's had in his young NFL career, and could conceivably take the offense to another level. But there haven't been many signs that New England is interested in bringing the talented wideout on board, and for that reason, it's not worth getting excited about the Pats potentially bringing him to Foxboro.