DeAndre Hopkins appears to be having fun during his time as a free agent.
The All-Pro wide receiver has posted some interesting stuff on Instagram recently that has given fans of prospective teams hope that he'll sign with them.
The New England Patriots were the latest team to be on the opposite end of Hopkins' social media fun. In an Instagram story he posted of himself while working out at the gym, Hopkins prominently featured the television showing a highlight from the Patriots' Super Bowl LI comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Via Zack Cox of NESN:
DeAndre Hopkins’ IG story today 🤔 pic.twitter.com/EyKN9xkquI
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) May 29, 2023
When Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals, reports emerged that the Patriots would be among those interested in the receiver.
“The Patriots, who previously checked in on DeAndre Hopkins, are more likely to pursue him now that the contract isn't as much of a hurdle, per sources,” The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote in a tweet on Friday. “Financial competition is a factor, but there should be a level of interest from New England.”
While the Patriots were among a handful of teams to reportedly show interest in Hopkins moments after he was released, there didn't appear to be a lot of optimism that he would pick New England as his landing spot.
The Patriots, who previously checked in on DeAndre Hopkins, are more likely to pursue him now that the contract isn't as much of a hurdle, per sources. Financial competition is a factor, but there should be a level of interest from New England.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) May 26, 2023
Hopkins specifically named the top five quarterbacks he'd like to catch passes from in an interview earlier in May. None of them were Mac Jones. Hopkins also mentioned he'd like to join a team that has stable management, a great defense and at least a quarterback that loves the game of football in the same interview on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast.
However, Hopkins also showed an appreciation for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in the past. When Belichick said that Hopkins was as good as any receiver he's ever coached against prior to the Patriots' matchup against the Cardinals in 2022, Hopkins said why Belichick's praise was “very meaningful” to him.
“A guy like Belichick, he's one of the most respected people in the NFL, he's a Hall of Fame coach, and for him to have that high praise about me, it's definitely mutual,” Hopkins said. “I love playing against him. After every game I try to make sure I say, ‘Hey, what's up' to him. I've got a lot of respect for him for sure.”
Hopkins and Belichick were also shown during a mic'd up segment prior to that game expressing their love for each other.
There have been other possible hurdles though to Hopkins potentially joining the Patriots. New England offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien coached Hopkins while the two were with the Houston Texans. The two reportedly had a falling out prior to Hopkins getting traded to the Cardinals. There have been conflicting rumors on if O'Brien's presence with the Patriots would deter Hopkins from going to New England.
One area the Patriots have an advantage in is their ability to give Hopkins a bigger contract than likely competitors. New England has roughly $13 million in cap space.