You knew this was coming.
As soon as word came across that the Arizona Cardinals were releasing Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins, fans of the 31 other teams asked themselves whether their team should sign him.
Well, should the New York Giants be interested in Hopkins?
The short answer is “probably not”, though the longer answer is a bit more nuanced.
The Giants should absolutely be interested in Hopkins. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and has only played 19 of the last 34 games. However, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound veteran would instantly give the Giants the true Number One receiver they’ve lacked since parting ways with Odell Beckham Jr. Hopkins has never been the biggest or most athletic player on the field, but his route running, ball skills, and body control make him incredibly hard to defend. And because his game doesn’t depend on athleticism, it should age gracefully.
He has been incredibly productive since being drafted, and was on a career path that could be compared to the legendary Jerry Rice before it was interrupted by injury. And even so, his 106 receptions for 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last two years still would have made him the Giants best receiver.
The sticking point is, of course, the money.
Hopkins was due $19.45 million this year, which (in addition to trade compensation) was the sticking point in trading him prior to the draft.
Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac anticipates Hopkins making something on the order of $20 million per year.
At age 30, Julio Jones locked into a 5 yr, $87M contract w/ the #Falcons that included $64M guaranteed.— Spotrac (@spotrac) May 26, 2023
That $17.4M AAV represented 9.25% of the league cap. If we adjust that forward, Deandre Hopkins could be inline for a $20M per year deal, though age (31) is not on his side.
The Giants just paid Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence massive contracts and have very little cap space this year. They could potentially back-load a multi-year deal for Hopkins, but they’re still negotiating with Saquon Barkley and have deals for Andrew Thomas, Xavier McKinney, and Azeez Ojulari to plan for.
Paying a long-term $20 million per year deal to a receiver over 30 might not be their best option.
It’s worth noting that Hopkins listed the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, and Los Angeles Chargers as potential destinations, and each of those teams has cap issues with which they would need to contend.
At the very least it makes sense for the Giants to pick up the phone and see what Hopkins’ market is, and perhaps they can work out a smart contract that can be in the best interest of all parties.
That said, the reality is likely that while Hopkins would almost certainly help the Giants in the immediate future, he might be good for the long-term health of their salary cap.