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Should Steelers Try to Sign DeAndre Hopkins?



DeAndre Hopkins

The Arizona Cardinals have released All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the club announced on Friday, leaving almost all of the NFL scrambling to see if they have enough salary cap space to sign the talented receiver.

Hopkins, 30, spent three seasons in Arizona, but played just one full year, when the caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in 2020. 

Since then, Hopkins’ availability and  an injury to Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray combined to limit his contributions. In 2021, he missed three weeks with a hamstring injury, then the final four with an MCL injury.

In 2022, Hopkins was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. He was found to have ostarine in his system from a test taken in Nov. 2021. The test sample was small, but the NFL has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs like ostariene, an androgen receptor or SARM, which have similar effects to anabolic steroids. Hopkins has maintained that he does not know how the substance entered his body.

Back on the field in 2022, Hopkins played in nine games, catching 64 passes for 717 yards while catching balls from backups Colt McCoy, David Blough and Trace McSorley.

The Cardinals gave Hopkins permission to seek a trade earlier this offseason, but no suitor materialized. An acquiring team would have had to deal with Hopkins’ $19.45 million salary for 2023, and another $14.9 million salary in 2024.

Now that he has been released, he is free to sign with any team for any amount. Because Hopkins is a vested veteran, he does not have to pass through waivers.

The most expensive contract signed by an NFL wide receiver this offseason was the one-year, $15 million contract given to fellow 30-year-old Odell Beckham Jr. by the Baltimore Ravens.

Such a deal would be toward the outer edges of what the Pittsburgh Steelers could plausibly fit under the salary cap. Functionally, the Steelers are about $5 million over the 2023 salary cap, but they have the ability to clear nearly $30 million by restructuring contracts of players such as T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, Diontae Johnson and Chuks Okorafor.

A better question would be whether the Steelers feel the need to spend their remaining cap space on a wide receiver, given the presence of Johnson, George Pickens and Allen Robinson II already on the roster. But there’s no question that Hopkins would make nearly any team better. It seems likely that a team with less depth at receiver, more available cap space, or both, will be more willing to pony up the dough it will take to lock up D-Hop.

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May 26, 2023 3:22 pm


May 26, 2023 4:15 pm

No, No, No, just No!
Steelers don’t need an injury plagued WR. The current group of WR’s are more than capable of delivering an outstanding production.
I don’t want Hopkins not even at league minimum.

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