Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins Ruled Out vs. Falcons With Knee Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2022

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12: DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals looks towards the sideline against the New England Patriots during the second half at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals announced Saturday that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will not play in Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons due to a knee injury.

Hopkins had been listed as questionable on the Cards' injury report after not practicing Friday.

The 4-11 Cardinals have little to play for over the final two weeks of the 2022 regular season, as they have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

If anything, it would behoove the Cardinals to lose their final two games of the season to improve their draft position. Perhaps they considered that while weighing whether to sit Hopkins this week.

The 30-year-old veteran missed the first six games of the season due to a suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, but he hit the ground running upon his return. Despite playing in only nine games this season, Hopkins has racked up 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns, putting him on pace for more than 120 receptions and 1,300 yards over a full 17-game season.

Last week's 19-16 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was Hopkins' worst game of the season by far, as he finished with only one reception for four yards on 10 targets. Before that, Hopkins had recorded at least 60 yards or a touchdown in every game he played this season.

Third-stringer Trace McSorley started at quarterback for Arizona against Tampa since starter Kyler Murray is out for the season with a torn ACL and backup Colt McCoy was also unable to play due to a concussion. With Murray and McCoy both still out, the Cardinals announced Friday that they will start journeyman David Blough at quarterback against Atlanta.

Hopkins is one of the Cardinals' most important players, and they made a big investment in him in 2020 after acquiring him from the Houston Texans. They extended his contract by two years and $54.5 million, tying him to the team through the 2024 season.

There isn't much sense in risking Hopkins' health in meaningless games since he will either return as the Cards' No. 1 receiver in 2023 or get dealt for some assets to aid in a rebuild.

With Hopkins out Sunday, Blough's top options at wideout will be Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Greg Dortch, Robbie Anderson and A.J. Green.