The Arizona Cardinals face a murky future as they continue to search for a new head coach, and now it appears a star player could be on his way out this offseason.
ESPN's Jermey Fowler reports Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a candidate to be traded, with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots considered to be potential landing spots for the five-time Pro Bowler.
Per Fowler, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is "a huge admirer of Hopkins' game and needs a game-changing receiver in the worst way." New England has not been shy about chasing players on the trade market, and the team could be motivated to make a splash after falling short of the playoffs this year with an 8-9 record.
However, the arrival of new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to the Patriots creates an interesting situation.
O'Brien coached Hopkins during his tenure with the Houston Texans and made the decision to trade the 30-year-old to the Cardinals, which could cause some ill feelings between the two. Still, there's a chance they can mend fences in new surroundings, as Hopkins did enjoy some of his most productive seasons under the 53-year-old.
"They might not be friendly," an NFC executive said of Hopkins and O'Brien. "But they had success together with subpar quarterback play, so maybe it can work."
As for the Ravens, their top priority this offseason is negotiating a new deal for star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Providing him with a five-time All-Pro selection on the outside could influence him to return to Baltimore instead of testing the open market.
Hopkins would be a perfect fit for Jackson, "who many coaches say needs a rangy target," per Fowler. Baltimore didn't have a 1,000-yard receiver in 2022, with tight end Mark Andrews leading the team in catches (73), receiving yards (847) and receiving touchdowns (five).
The Ravens should jump at the chance to add a talent like Hopkins if they want to reload in 2023 after getting bounced in the AFC Wild Card Round this year.