The NFL announced Monday that it has suspended Arizona Cardinals star DeAndre Hopkins for six games following a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Doug Sanders, Hopkins' brand manager, issued a statement Monday night, noting the receiver's camp is testing every product he has used to determine what caused the positive test:
Hopkins later issued a statement of his own, in which he apologized to the Cardinals and their fans:
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news of the suspension.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Hopkins withdrew his appeal, making the ban official.
Depending on when the team might have been made aware of an impending ban for the three-time All-Pro, this could provide more context behind Arizona's trade for Marquise "Hollywood" Brown from the Baltimore Ravens.
Hopkins will have missed 10 straight regular-season games by the time he's eligible to suit back up for the Cardinals. He missed Arizona's last four contest as well as the team's NFC Wild Card Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams because of a knee sprain. A hamstring injury had also sidelined him for three weeks in November.
Not surprisingly, the offense suffered a big drop when the veteran pass-catcher was unavailable.
In addition to acquiring Brown, the Cardinals selected Colorado State tight end Trey McBride in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft.
At the time, it looked like the organization was working to appease Kyler Murray amid the quarterback's reported contract standoff.
Lance Medow @LanceMedow
Kyler Murray may argue he's lacking a new contract but he's certainly not lacking weapons in Arizona..Trey McBride joins Zach Ertz in the TE room to go along with several WRs (Hopkins, Green, Brown, Moore, Isabella) & RB James Conner <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a>
Instead, the Cardinals might have been fortifying their passing game to account for the fact that Hopkins will miss more than a third of the season.
It also might be fair to wonder whether Hopkins' long-term future in Arizona is now in jeopardy.
The 29-year-old is signed through the 2024 season after signing a two-year, $54.5 million extension in 2020.
Moving on in 2023 wouldn't be financially prohibitive for the team, though. Designating him as a post-June 1 cut next offseason would add $9.1 million as dead money in 2023 and 2024 but save the team $21.7 million, per Spotrac.
Regardless of what happens with Hopkins, Brown is likely to emerge as a big winner from this situation.
The 2019 first-round pick explained how he requested an exit from Baltimore, in part because of his usage within the Ravens offense.
Brown might now be the No. 1 receiving option on a team that averaged the fourth-most passing yards per attempt (7.8) and 10th-most yards per game (251.5). After eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in 2021, bigger and better things could be in store for him.