The Arizona Cardinals have released superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was the subject of trade speculation during the offseason. The move is not considered a post-June 1 designation and has significant financial implications. Hopkins had a strong season in 2022, catching 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games. The Cardinals have undergone significant changes this offseason, including firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and replacing him with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. The team’s general manager also stepped down, and superstar defensive lineman J.J. Watt retired. Hopkins’ contract may have been a dealbreaker, as he carried significant salary-cap hits in the coming years.
As seen on recent reports, the Arizona Cardinals are undergoing a major makeover this offseason. The team has already made several significant moves, including firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and replacing him with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. General manager Steve Keim has also stepped down, with Monti Ossenfort taking his place. In addition, superstar defensive lineman J.J. Watt retired. However, the latest bombshell move by the Cardinals involves the release of their superstar wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.
As seen on Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Hopkins’ release is not considered a post-June 1 designation. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network noted the financial implications of the move, which may have been a dealbreaker for the team. Hopkins carried salary-cap hits of $30.8 million in 2023 and $26.2 million in 2024.
Hopkins posted a farewell note to Arizona on social media after the announcement of his release. The 30-year-old had another strong season in 2022, catching 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games. He missed the team’s first six games after being suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy and the last two of the season with a knee injury.
The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection also didn’t always have Kyler Murray throwing him passes following his return from suspension, as the starting quarterback dealt with a hamstring injury in November and was ultimately lost for the season in December due to an ACL tear. Despite these setbacks, Hopkins was excellent when he did play and gave Arizona a dangerous one-two combination at wideout alongside Marquise Brown.
However, rumors of Hopkins being traded have been swirling for much of the offseason. In January, The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported that owner Michael Bidwill planned to float the idea of moving Hopkins in a trade with potential general manager candidates. Hopkins himself said last week on I AM ATHLETE that he knew of interest from the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.
It’s unclear why the Cardinals ultimately decided to release Hopkins instead of trading him. As seen on a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Keim was unwilling to move Hopkins before the NFL’s trade deadline in early November. It’s unclear if Keim wasn’t doing a deal at any price or if teams simply didn’t meet his price.
Regardless of the reasons behind the move, the release of Hopkins is a significant blow to the Cardinals and their fans. Hopkins was a key part of the team’s offense and one of the best wide receivers in the league. It remains to be seen how the team will replace his production and leadership on the field.
Bringing everything together, the Arizona Cardinals are undergoing a major makeover this offseason, and the release of DeAndre Hopkins is the latest bombshell move by the team. While rumors of Hopkins being traded have been circulating for much of the offseason, it’s unclear why the team ultimately decided to release him instead of trading him. Regardless of the reasons, the loss of Hopkins is a significant blow to the team’s offense and one that will be difficult to replace.