Despite ongoing trade rumors regarding DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals' first year head coach Jonathan Gannon is not offering any fuel to that proverbial fire. Instead, he's focused on coaching Hopkins.
"I'm operating that he's a Cardinal right now," Gannon said Sunday from the Annual League Meeting, via NFL Media. "So, I'm looking forward to getting in the meeting room and on the field with him and seeing where it can go. I just know he's an elite player. Being a defensive guy, I had to go up against him a couple times in the division. The challenges that he presents. I'm excited to get to work with him."
Recent reports have stated that trade talks have ramped up between the Cardinals and teams that are potentially interested in acquiring the three-time All-Pro receiver. The Patriots were initially among the teams reportedly interested in Hopkins before withdrawing interest as they recently signed former Chiefs wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Chiefs and Bills have also reportedly been interesting in trading for Hopkins.
Should they try to trade him, the Cardinals may not get as much for Hopkins as initially hoped, after fellow veteran wideout Brandin Cooks was recently traded from Houston to Dallas in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. Arizona would reportedly want a second-round pick and an additional pick for Hopkins, who will be 31 years old before the start of the 2023 season.
Hopkins started his career in Houston before spending the last three seasons in Arizona. A Pro Bowler during his first season with the Cardinals, injuries and a suspension (for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy) limited him to just 19 games over the past two seasons. Hopkins missed the first six games due to his suspension last year before missing Arizona's final two games after tearing his MCL.
A trade involving Hopkins will likely include an altered contract, according to the report. Hopkins has two years remaining on his current deal that will pay him a base salary of $19.450 million in 2023 and $14.915 million in 2023.
While Gannon publicly isn't planning to trade Hopkins, NFL teams have a long history of saying one thing and doing another, especially if they are given an offer that's simply too good to refuse. That may be the case with Hopkins if the Cardinals are offered significant compensation that could help them build a stronger overall roster for 2023 and beyond.