The Cardinals extended Hopkins’ contract for $54.5 million three years ago. In 2023, Hopkins would earn $19.4 million; in 2024, it would’ve been $14.9 million. They’ll pay the price this year because Hopkins’ release will cost the Cardinals $22.6 in dead cap money for 2023. One report stated $21 million, but most of the dead money will happen this season.
Most believe when healthy, Hopkins can still post elite numbers, but there are worries about his age, and you can’t remove his PED suspension from the formula either. How much was PEDS helping his performance? That’s a legitimate question, and then the bigger question – how much to pay a player who thinks he’s still in his prime but isn’t? Hopkins is demanding top-tier dollars, likely more than the $15 million grift Odell Beckham got the Baltimore Ravens into overpaying.
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We know Hopkins has a cap hit of $22.6 million in dead money. In 2024, it’s off the books. Why is that important?
They have hired Jonathan Gannon as Arizona’s new head coach, and the team will surely rebuild.
General manager Monti Ossenfort and Gannon may consider eating salary cap hits now to prepare for the future.
Don’t forget that Kyler Murray (ACL) will miss a significant amount of the season.
In fact, the possibility of moving on from Murray is real.
By NFL standards, he’s an overpaid little man whose contract will eventually cripple this team.
With two top-five picks and cap space to sign other free agents, speculation suggests they’re rebuilding with a goal of 2024.
Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. are already on fanboys’ wish lists.
Hopkins can be a difference-maker if he still has juice in the tank. His injuries, age, and PEDs suspension are massive red flags, but a team will take a shot at him. They’ll look at his hands, his route running, and whether true, state they need a veteran leader in the locker room.
If a team is a few (1-3) players away, this could work out, but it will cost whoever signs him because they’ll have to overpay. Hopkins may state he’s looking for a ring and not a payout. Still, those players went extinct before the salary cap took over. As New York Jets’ QB Aaron Rodgers and Oakland Raiders WR Davante Adams prove, words are nothing, but bling is everything!