The Arizona Cardinals made a shocking move on Friday with the DeAndre Hopkins release. While he is now available to sign with all 31 other NFL teams, several favorites have emerged. One of those favorites is the New England Patriots, which makes a lot of sense. Here are three reasons a DeAndre Hopkins-Patriots union not only could happen but should happen.

3. The Patriots aren’t good at the wide receiver position

After the Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins releases, he is now a star free-agent wide receiver. The Patriots’ wide receivers aren’t very good. And that’s reason No. 1 that the Pats signing Hopkins makes so much sense.

Heading into the 2023 NFL season, the Patriots' depth chart at WR includes JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, and 2023 sixth-round pick out of LSU, Kayshon Boutte.

That collection of wideouts is a bunch of No. 2, 3, and 4 WRs, without a single WR1. DeAndre Hopkins is a true WR1.

In Hopkins' 10-year NFL career with the Cardinals and Houston Texans, the former Clemson WR has made five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. He has 853 career catches for 11,298 yards and 71 touchdowns. That includes six seasons with over 1,000 yards and in 2017, he led the league with 13 receiving TDs.

Hopkins is the type of wideout that the Patriots currently don’t have on the roster and, frankly, haven’t since Randy Moss. He is the type of player who can make any quarterback better — as he did with Deshaun Watson and even Kyler Murray — and that’s exactly what the Patriots QB needs in 2023.

2. Mac Jones (or Bailey Zappe) needs a true No. 1 target

The Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins release has put a true No. 1 WR on the open market, and signing a player like that would help the Patriots quarterback immensely.

Exactly who that quarterback will be in 2023 may be open to debate, but whether it is Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe, that player will love having Hopkins over his shoulder.

The former Texans and Cardinals WR is 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, and has the speed and strength to fight for and win any ball thrown in his direction. A big physical receiver like this is a young quarterback’s best friend, as they can take poorly thrown balls or balls put in danger into big catches for big gains.

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Chances are, Mac Jones will be the QB in 2023, and he’s used to playing with majorly talented wide receivers from his time at Alabama. Getting a player like Hopkins will no doubt rejuvenate Jones after his down year last season playing under “offensive coordinator” Matt Patricia.

If Bill Belichick gets what is seemingly his wish and he plays Bailey Zappe this season, Hopkins will be great for him, too. Zappe didn’t grow up in an Alabama-type system going to Western Kentucky, so he’s never really played with a pass-catcher of Hopkins’ caliber.

No matter who is taking snaps under center for the Patriots next season, adding Hopkins will be huge for them and give the team a better chance to win games in the brutally tough AFC next season.

That said, a DeAndre Hopkins-Patriots marriage will give the team a better chance to win games in their own division for another reason.

1. A DeAndre Hopkins-Patriots pairing keeps the WR off another AFC East team

Before the Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins release — when the NFL world thought a Hopkins trade was in order — the WR talked a lot about what type of organization he wanted to go to and what type of players he wants to play with.

His big things were a stable organization, a top-notch quarterback, and a chance to win. The Patriots, with Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, are one of (if not) the most stable franchises in the NFL. While Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe aren’t top NFL QBs yet, they do seem to love the game in selfless ways that Hopkins seems to think Kyler Murray doesn’t.

However, they are also not Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, who Hopkins keeps dropping hints he wants to play with. Right now, according to FanDuel, the Bills are a +130 favorite to win the AFC East, while the Patriots are +750.

If the Bills get Allen, those spreads will likely move even further apart.

The Patriots could struggle to win games in their division this season, with the Bills, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins all improving this offseason. If they get Hopkins, though, that could all change, and the Patriots could close the gap on their AFC East foes.

But the biggest single bonus of a DeAndre Hopkins-Patriots signing is that it will keep him off the Bills which gives the Pats a much better chance in 2023.