Almost every semi-available high-profile wide receiver is going to be rumored to join the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, and DeAndre Hopkins is the latest name on the list.
The Arizona Cardinals wideout is rumored to be on the trade block this offseason as Arizona goes through a rebuild, and he poses as one of the most talented outside targets if he becomes available.
This year’s free agent wide receiver class doesn’t include too many big names as many top-tier options got their bag last year: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown to name a few.
If the Ravens want to prove they are truly committed to improving their receiving room, Hopkins would be the wideout to get. This past season, he hauled in 717 receiving yards and three touchdowns even after serving a six-game suspension — that yardage total is good for second in the Ravens’ receiving room in 2022 behind Mark Andrews’ 847 yards.
In a recent ESPN inside scoop, Jeremy Fowler said he expects the Ravens to trade for Hopkins this offseason in a potential win-win transaction on both sides. The Cardinals get a few mid-round draft picks and the Ravens finally get Lamar Jackson his guy:
"In Hopkins, the Ravens would be getting a true vertical threat for Lamar Jackson, who many coaches say needs a rangy target.At age 30 with a $19.4 million base salary, Hopkins might not merit a first-round pick in return (like he probably did in 2020 when Houston shipped him to Arizona for a second-round pick and David Johnson). The Cardinals would be wise to eat some of the money to facilitate a deal."
Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Jackson is very attainable dream
The problem is whether Eric DeCosta is willing to part with any draft picks this year. Baltimore only have five picks in the 2023 NFL Draft; while Hopkins may not command a first-round pick given his age and injury concerns, he would at least require the Ravens giving up a second-rounder.
Herein lies the problem within that problem: Baltimore does not have a second-round pick in 2023 after dealing that pick to Chicago in exchange for Roquan Smith.
That would force DeCosta to give up future second-rounders for an injury-prone wide receiver (or in one proposed trade, giving up a 2023 first-rounder in exchange for Hopkins and a 2023 second-rounder), not to mention fit Hopkins’ salary in the books at the same time they’re trying to extend Lamar Jackson.
There are a handful of moving pieces in a potential Hopkins trade, and Baltimore will no doubt weigh the risks with the rewards as they have done in the past.
It’s worth noting that Fowler named the New England Patriots as a team who could also trade for Hopkins in 2023, pointing out the warm interactions between Bill Belichick and Hopkins when the Pats played the Cardinals this past season.
Compared to out-of-reach targets like Panthers’ D.J. Moore and low-level pending free agents like Giants’ Sterling Shepard, Hopkins in some ways stands out as the Goldilocks receiver of the group.
After what he accomplished in the final stretch of the Cardinals’ season, he still possesses high upside, he won’t come at an exorbitant price, and he could feasibly develop into Jackson’s No. 1 wide receiver in 2023.