It’s easy to look at DeAndre Hopkins’ numbers from the past two seasons and wonder why some of the NFL’s best would be interested in him after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.
Hopkins’ reception totals totaled 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns through 2021 and 2022. The numbers are by no means terrible, especially considering they came over 19 games due to injury and a six-game suspension last season.
However, after attempting three touchdowns in 2022, in which he finished 70th in Football Outsiders DYAR – a measure of overall value – many may be wondering if the 31-year-old is past his peak and wondering if he’s worth admiring looks from. The likes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
However, it is important to separate Hopkins from the position he played in Arizona. Kyler Murray was limited to just 11 games in 2022, leaving the Cardinals to rotate Colt McCoy, David Plouffe, and Trace McSorley under center.
Even when healthy, Murray fared well below his best, and averaged 6.1 attempt yards by far, the worst of his still relatively young career.
The lack of snaps that saw Murray and Hopkins on the field at the same time was a contributor to the Cardinals going 4-13 in a dreadful 2022 campaign. However, when they were available and performing near their best, their connection was impressive. Hopkins posted a passer rating when targeting 133.6 during the 2021 season that saw Arizona perform in the playoffs.
Although he wasn’t at his best last year, Hopkins’ remarkable consistency should engender confidence that he can revive his career playing with quarterbacks of the caliber of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
He has seven DYAR top twenty seasons, including his first two at Arizona State, to his name. Since his first 1,000-yard season in 2014, Hopkins ranks eighth in projected points added per game among pass rushers with at least 1,000 catches in that span, according to nflindex.com.
With six 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, Hopkins has a history of regularly delivering outstanding and effective production during a stellar career.
Hopkins may be heading towards the later years of that career, but he still prides himself on the acumen and winning ability to be an asset to quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen who can maximize the impact of their supporting team.
Having spent most of his career in bad situations in Houston and Arizona, Hopkins deserves the opportunity to spend at least a portion of his later years as a professional playing for a team that will put him in a position to succeed.