After weeks in the unknown, we finally got a resolution for the DeAndre Hopkins saga following his release by the Arizona Cardinals on May 26. Hopkins has, once and for all, found a new team.
ESPN announced on Sunday that the Tennessee Titans are set to sign the former Cardinals and Texans wideout to "a two-year deal worth up to $15 million in the first year." That's according to sources speaking to Dianna Russini.
The first year of the contract has been quoted at a base salary of $12 million, with bonuses making it potentially worth the aforementioned figure depending on incentives.
"The Tennessee Titans are expected to sign free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to a two-year deal that could be worth up to $15 million in the first year, sources told ESPN's Dianna Russini."- Turron Davenport, ESPN
Just for context, the Baltimore Ravens handed veteran WR Odell Beckham Jr. a one-year deal worth $15 million last April, as reported by Jamison Hensley of ESPN. That is, simply put, the same figure for both receivers only with Hopkins getting his dough via incentives instead of guaranteed (which he will probably do by reaching those benchmarks because otherwise, he wouldn't have signed on the Titans' dotted line).
Both Beckham and Hopkins are entering their age-31 season. Hopkins, in fact, got drafted in 2013 adding a bonus season of wear and tear to his legs and core while Beckham was drafted by the Giants one year later in 2014.
Between the years he spent in Houston and Arizona, Hopkins racked up 11,298 yards on 853 receptions scoring 71 touchdowns. Beckham, who has played for the Giants, the Browns, and lastly the Rams, won the Super Bowl in the last game he played and has a tally of 7,367 yards on 531 receptions scoring 56 touchdowns.
Believe it or not, this is a no-contest win for Beckham and the Baltimore Ravens franchise having decided to sign the former Rookie of the Year while refusing to enter the Hopkins' sweepstakes, whether that was via a trade (earlier this offseason) or in free agency (once he was released).
The Ravens chose the younger player, the one having better per-game numbers, and one with multiple accolades spread over a career that already saw him reach the pinnacle of the sport when he hoisted the SB as a member of the Rams just a couple of years ago.
Beckham has posted a career average of 13.9 Y/R and 8.4 Y/Tgt. Hopkins trails him on both fronts with averages of 13.1 and 8.2 respectively. Beckham averages a touchdown every 15.7 targets to Hopkins' 18.5. You be the judge.
Of course, there are some injury concerns around Beckham. Yes, he's coming off a full season off the field. Also yes: Beckham has played fewer than 12 games only once in the last four seasons he's played (2018-2021) and before that, he only dropped below that figure once (2017).
Hopkins led the NFL in snaps three times in four seasons spanning from 2015 through 2018. The freshest Titan also leads the league in snaps played from 2014 through 2022. However, Beckham ranks 21st in that list (only WRs) while having played 96 games to Hopkins' 129 in the same span.
Only OBJ and Antonio Brown have topped 5,500 snaps while appearing in fewer than 100 games since the start of the 2014 season.
Back on May 19, Jeremy Foler of ESPN reported that Hopkins was "hesitant to take a pay cut" after Beckham's contract with the Ravens was revealed. That turned out to be nearly true, with Hopkins signing a very similar deal.
Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic wrote at the end of May that the Ravens "did their homework on the player, his personality fit, and what it would take in terms of draft capital and salary-cap space to make a deal work." He added that "ultimately, they backed off."
And we can't be happier about it.
Baltimore added rookie Zay Flowers with their first-round draft pick on a bargain rookie contract, signed reliable veteran Nelson Agholor on a cheap deal, brought Beckham to town, and will also feature 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman and unstoppable TE Mark Andrews as part of one of the greatest NFL offenses ever put together.
Remove Beckham and Andrews from that equation, and all other pieces in Baltimore's receiving corps (Agholor, Flowers, Bateman, and other borderline-starters such as Devin Duvernay and Laquon Treadwell) make around $12 million combined.
Call me crazy, but I'd rather bank such a loaded and diversified attack than just bet everything on a single man coming off a part-time season spent in the desert... and back-to-back years in which he hasn't topped 10 games played.