Free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has expressed interest in re-joining his former team, the Houston Texans, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Brooks Kubena.
Hopkins, who spent seven seasons with the Texans before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020, is currently a free agent and is “gauging multiple teams”, including his former franchise.
The Texans, who have been in the process of rebuilding their roster and front office, have a clear need at the wide receiver position. Hopkins’ availability presents an intriguing option for the team to address this need.
The Cardinals officially released Hopkins earlier this week, making him eligible to sign with any team in the league.
Despite a challenging 2022 season, which included a suspension and missed games due to a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, Hopkins has shown his worth as a top-tier receiver. In just nine starts, he recorded 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns, highlighting his exceptional skills and playmaking abilities.
In a recent episode of the I Am Athlete podcast, recorded while Hopkins was still with the Cardinals, he provided insight into what he would be looking for in his next team.
This is what #Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins is looking for on his next team:
* QB that loves the game and brings everyone on board with him
* Great defense – "Defense wins championships. Gotta have a great D-Line"
* Stable management – Because he says he's been through 4 GMs in… pic.twitter.com/PFoj2efyrN
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 26, 2023
Hopkins emphasized the importance of playing with a quarterback who loves the game and can inspire the entire team. He also expressed the desire for a strong defense, stating that “defense wins championships” and highlighting the significance of having a solid defensive line.
Additionally, stability within the team’s management structure was a priority for Hopkins, who has experienced multiple changes in general managers throughout his career.
One major obstacle to a potential reunion between Hopkins and the Texans is the team’s current salary cap situation. The Texans have limited cap space, with only about $5.7 million available after signing their top draft picks. Hopkins was previously playing on a lucrative contract with the Cardinals, and although his next deal may not be as lucrative, the Texans would still need to clear additional cap space to acquire him.
However, the Texans have significant budget room in future seasons, which could accommodate higher-salary contracts. They have the second-highest projected salary cap in 2024 ($118.9 million) and the third-largest budget in 2025 ($194 million).
General manager Nick Caserio has already utilized some of this future money by signing extensions for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and right guard Shaq Mason.
The addition of Hopkins would provide the Texans with a dynamic receiver, addressing a key need within their roster. While the team has some promising young receivers, none have proven themselves as reliable No. 1 or No. 2 options. Hopkins’ experience and production would bring a significant boost to the Texans’ passing game.
As the Texans continue to navigate their rebuild, the addition of a player of Hopkins’ caliber would certainly provide a boost to their roster.
While there are challenges to overcome, both in terms of salary cap space and negotiations, the potential reunion between Hopkins and the Texans remains an intriguing storyline to follow.