The Arizona Cardinals reportedly are looking to get a Christian McCaffrey-like package in return for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
McCaffrey, who was traded by the Carolina Panthers last season to the San Francisco 49ers, netted Carolina several draft picks. The Panthers received a 2023 NFL Draft second-round pick, 2023 third-rounder, 2023 fourth-rounder and 2024 fifth-round pick.
“[The Baltimore Ravens] have at least looked around at the luxury shopping, high-end wide receiver market, whether it’s Hopkins or like Denver’s Courtland Sutton,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter. “Uncertain whether they would pull the trigger on that sort of price point right now because it’s very high. But Hopkins, the issue is the compensation. Talking to other teams, they say that Arizona has wanted a second-round pick and more, maybe even as high as like a Christian McCaffrey package. We’re talking second-, third-, fourth-round picks. They will probably have to come off that to deal Hopkins, who has got $19 million in salary due to him. So, you still have teams like the [Buffalo] Bills and the [Kansas City] Chiefs and big-ticket teams that are at least looking, window shopping at potential options at receiver.”
Hopkins is one of the league’s top receivers when healthy, but he carries a major cap number and spent part of the 2022 season suspended due to a performance-enhancing drugs violation.
Baltimore and other teams looking for Hopkins services don’t seem to be willing to pay Arizona’s asking price at this point in the offseason.
During the 2022 campaign, Hopkins caught 64 of his 96 targets in nine games for the Cardinals. The star wideout racked up 717 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the process.
What may be the most impressive part of Hopkins’ season is that he did it with multiple quarterbacks since Kyler Murray missed time due to injury. Adding a player of Hopkins’ caliber would be an immediate boost to almost any offense.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Hopkins has six seasons where he’s cleared 1,000 receiving yards. He also has 71 career receiving touchdowns.
McCaffrey, 26, is four years younger than Hopkins, 30, but the Cardinals star plays a position that has a little less wear and tear, which should allow him to play a few extra years. As a running back, McCaffrey is taking way more hits on a game-to-game basis than Hopkins.
The Cardinals were a playoff team in the 2021 season, but they were one of the worst teams in the 2022 campaign. Murray’s torn ACL certainly didn’t help the team late in the season, and the Cardinals may be bracing for him to not be at 100 percent when the 2023 campaign rolls around.
If that’s the case, the Cardinals could be better off moving Hopkins for draft capital to try to build a cheaper, younger core around their star quarterback.
It will be interesting to see if any team is willing to match Arizona’s price to gain proven receiver help in Hopkins this offseason.