Earlier this week, theScore’s Jordan Schultz reported that the Arizona Cardinals are planning on trading former Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The move of Hopkins makes sense, considering the waves of change in the desert. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim will no longer be with the team in 2023 and quarterback Kyler Murray tore his ACL during the 2022 season, putting his first few months of the upcoming in doubt.
On Friday, DraftKings released their odds on which team Hopkins will take his next snap with. The leader of the NFL, at least by a small margin, is the Green Bay Packers. At +330 odds, the implied probability translates to a 23 percent chance that Hopkins is expected to take his next snaps in the green and gold.
While a trade for Hopkins in Green Bay would almost certainly have to come after the news that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be returning to the team, the Packers have been very active in the receiver market over the last year. Despite trading receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason, the team drafted three wideouts in the 2022 draft and attempted to trade for Chase Claypool and DJ Moore at the trade deadline last season.
With Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb set to be unrestricted free agents, Green Bay only has ffive receivers under contract for 2023: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure, Bo Melton and Jeff Cotton. Watson, Doubs and Toure were all 2022 draft picks by the Packers while Melton was originally selected in the seventh round by the Seattle Seahawks and was plucked off their practice squad by Green Bay in Week 16. Melton never suited up for the Packers in the 2022 regular season. Cotton, who had been on Green Bay’s practice squad for the second-half of the 2022 campaign, signed a short-term futures contract that pays him near the league minimum.
According to Lazard, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year, he believes he’s played his final game with the Packers. Lazard is expected to be one of the biggest names available on the free agency market in this upcoming offseason.
To say the least, Green Bay could be looking at adding receiver talent in 2023. Hopkins was named a First-Team All-Pro from 2017 to 2019 and was also named a Second-Team All-Pro two other times. For his NFL career, he’s recorded 853 receptions, 11,298 receiving yards and 71 receiving touchdowns. Last year with Arizona, he posted 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns, despite serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Hopkins’ remaining contract pays him out just over $34 million over the final two years of his deal. His 2023 cap hit would be around $22.8 million if his deal was left unaltered. Without the cap space on hand to roll with Hopkins’ current deal, Green Bay would either have to add void years to Hopkins’ contract — which would convert his salary into a signing bonus that would push cap accounting into the future — or touch some of the large contracts already on the books.
The players who the Packers can save the most cap space with by turning their salaries or roster bonuses into signing bonuses this offseason are defensive lineman Kenny Clark, running back Aaron Jones, left tackle David Bakhtiari, cornerback Jaire Alexander and outside linebacker Preston Smith. Trading safety Darnell Savage, who is on a guaranteed fifth-year option worth $7.9 million, is another option and an extension of outside linebacker Rashan Gary would almost certainly bring down his own $10.98 million cap hit that also stems from a fifth-year option.