New DeAndre Hopkins favorite emerges

Days after wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals, there appears to be a new favorite to sign him.

The Arizona Cardinals had listened to offers for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in trade talks, but nothing ever transpired. On May 26, the Cardinals decided to outright release him from his contract with a pre-June 1 designation. With that, Hopkins has the opportunity to sign with whichever team he so chooses.

It appears as though there is a new favorite.

According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, there is “strong mutual interest” between Hopkins, the Cleveland Browns, and the team’s quarterback Deshaun Watson.

‘Strong mutual interest’ between DeAndre Hopkins and the Browns

When Hopkins became a free agent, there was an obvious link with Cleveland considering his former signal caller, Watson, was on the team. Both knew each other since Watson came out of high school, where he committed to Clemson, the same college that Hopkins played for. Hopkins entered the league in 2013 with the Houston Texans, and Watson was drafted four years later in 2017. They were teammates for three seasons until Hopkins was dealt to the Cardinals.

While there may be interest, it appears that interested teams will have to pay up. According to The Athletic’s Tim Graham (subscription required), Hopkins is believed to be seeking a similar deal that Odell Beckham Jr. received from the Baltimore Ravens. Beckham earned a one-year contract worth $15 million guaranteed, with an additional $3 million in incentives on the line.

Hopkins is coming off of a 2022 campaign in which he played just nine games, due in part to a six-game suspension handed to him for a performance-enhancing drug policy violation, and a late-season knee injury. In that span, Hopkins caught 64-of-96 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns.

The Browns are looking to compete in what is a tough AFC North division. Adding Hopkins to pair alongside Watson once again would certainly help them, as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

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