DeAndre Hopkins’ time in the desert is over.
The Arizona Cardinals announced Hopkins’ release on Friday.
Hopkins has two years left on his current deal and carries a maximum cap of $30.7 million before it drops to $26.2 million in 2024.
With the move, the Cardinals free up $8.1 million in ceiling space but hit a dead earning of $22.6 million for 2023.
If they had not traded or released the No. 1 receiver before or on June 1, they would have released $19.4 million in 2023 and $14.9 million in 2024 — the amount left on Hopkins’ contract — but would have had dead money of $11.3. million in each of the next two seasons.
News of the move comes after the wide receiver said he and Cardinals’ new general manager Monty Osinfurt had “good conversation” Shortly after the latter’s arrival in the desert it wasn’t necessarily about the future. First-year coach Jonathan Gannon said during Offensive Coordinator Drew Petzing’s intro press conference Feb. 23 (Thursday) that he had not yet spoken to Hopkins but was looking forward to it.
Hopkins broke his silence on the matter in April, adding that he did not want any further criticism in a Twitter post that has since been deleted.
Amid all the trade speculation, a few teams have been linked to Hopkins, including the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Buffalo Bills. Before being drafted Thursday, Hopkins’ friend and former NFL linebacker Adam “Pacman” Jones mentioned Those three as possibilities with the addition that he could see something going on with Thursday.
Hopkins also hired an agent to assist in contract negotiations after representing himself beforehand.
In 35 games played over the past three seasons, the wide has recorded 2,696 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns on 221 catches.
Despite missing time in 2021 due to injuries (seven games), Hopkins still paced all Cardinals in assists with eight points.
Last season was a similar showing from the crowd that led the team in receiving yards with 717.
That’s not to say availability hasn’t been an issue over Arizona’s wide tenure, missing 15 games in the three-season span after being inactive in just two contests from 2013-19.
It was no secret that the Cardinals were at their best with Hopkins on the field. Defenses were forced to keep eyes wide, opening up other holes to exploit, giving quarterback Killer Murray the undisputed No. 1 pick.
In their only full season together in 2020, Murray converted for his best season as a pro behind 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns, both career highs, at 67.2%. He also accounted for 819 yards and 11 points on the ground.
Hopkins was Murray’s biggest scorer far and away that season, with all the Cardinals going in yards (1,407), catches (115), goals (160), after catches (527), first downs (75) and plays of at least 20 receiving Yards or more (17). He tied then-Cardinals WR Christian Kirk in receiving touchdowns (six).
With Hopkins out of the mix, the Cardinals will likely turn to the Hollywood Browns as WR’s first-team pick next season. Rondel Moore, Zac Pascal and Greg Durch also see a fair share of goals in their respective innings.