If the Arizona Cardinals want to trade DeAndre Hopkins, the asking price for the veteran wide receiver will almost certainly have to be rethought. One team that could be looking their way is the Baltimore Ravens. Here we'll look at the perfect trade that the Ravens must offer the Cardinals for Hopkins.
Of course, five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins is still a talented player at age 31. However, he may not be at his peak anymore. That said, his contract could be a deterrent for teams unwilling to give up significant draft capital. Remember that it includes a $19.45 million base salary and a $30.75 million cap hit in 2023. Reports suggest that any trade involving Hopkins may involve a contract restructure.
Keep in mind also that the market for trading wide receivers on lucrative contracts may have been set by the Houston Texans. Recall that they traded Brandin Cooks to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. Although Hopkins has been a better player than Cooks, that deal may affect how this pans out.
The reality is that teams are interested in future production, not past performance. We feel that may impact the value of a trade for Hopkins. Still, despite missing significant time due to injuries and suspension, Hopkins has remained productive. In fact, he has had 106 receptions, 1,289 yards, and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
We do expect the Cardinals to eventually budge. They are in a rebuilding phase under new management, and it doesn't make much sense to have a high asking price for Hopkins. Still, negotiations will likely continue to drag on with the draft approaching on April 27. Eventually, though, they may need to settle for a lesser offer if they wish to really trade Hopkins.
A team who should be interested is Baltimore. They'll need a receiver of Hopkins' pedigree if they want to either entice Lamar Jackson to stay or entice another marquee QB to come in.
Let's look at the perfect trade that the Ravens can offer the Cardinals for Hopkins.
Multiple draft picks for DeAndre Hopkins
The Baltimore Ravens are prioritizing negotiations regarding star quarterback Lamar Jackson this offseason. As we said, one way to entice him to stay in Baltimore instead of leaving would be to provide him with a top-tier wide receiver. Hopkins can fit that mold. Many coaches believe that Jackson needs a rangy target. Hopkins would fit really well in that scenario. Remember that the Ravens didn't have a 1,000-yard receiver last season. In fact, tight end Mark Andrews led the team in catches (73), receiving yards (847), and receiving touchdowns (5).
Don't forget that Ravens fans have urged the team to acquire a star receiver for years. In 2022, Baltimore traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals for a first-round pick. However, they failed to replace him with another wideout. Adding a talent like Hopkins would significantly boost the Ravens' receiver corps. Remember that they want to reload in 2023 after getting eliminated in the AFC Wild Card Round earlier this year.
Two years ago, Deandre Hopkins made this unforgettable play 🙌
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/Ylae0u6eH4
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 15, 2022
The Ravens can orchestrate a trade for Hopkins by offering a first-round draft pick, either this year (No. 22) or next year. Almost certainly, they would have to add another future late-rounder, too. Although that's a steep price, the addition of Hopkins would take pressure off Jackson to make every play by himself. It could also reduce the risk of more injuries. Moreover, Hopkins' connection with Jackson could be a game-changer for the Ravens' offense.
Hopkins would also benefit from the addition of new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Remember that he helped Mike Evans become one of the best receivers in the league during his time in Tampa Bay. Keep in mind as well that the Ravens recently signed linebacker Roquan Smith to a $100 million deal and franchise-tagged Jackson. These indicate their willingness to invest in key players. Adding Hopkins to the roster could be the final piece of the puzzle for Baltimore.
In summary, the Ravens' top priority this offseason is to negotiate a new contract for Jackson and add another marquee name. Acquiring a star wide receiver like Hopkins to the team could entice Jackson to stay in Baltimore instead of exploring other options. Although it would be costly, the Ravens should consider offering a first-round draft pick and another future late-rounder to acquire Hopkins. Hey, if you want to make a big splash, you need to pay a hefty price, right?
Reportedly, the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and New England Patriots were also trying to get on the Hopkins sweepstakes. We'll see who ends up with him.