Cardinals Release Star Receiver Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins | Image by Arizona Cardinals, Twitter

The Arizona Cardinals have released five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The team announced the move on Friday afternoon. Hopkins had not reported to voluntary OTAs earlier in the week, opting to work out on his own in Toronto.

“I’m getting some great work in up here,” Hopkins told the I AM ATHLETE Podcast last week. “I’m getting my body examined. I’m trying to play as long as I can, so I did my research and studied some of the best people that work on the human body, and Toronto has amazing people. I’m up here right now getting the body examined to where I know I can perform at my best.”

Arizona traded running back David Johnson and multiple draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick in March 2020. Arizona used that selection on LSU defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, while Houston turned its draft capital into wide receiver Nico Collins, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (trade with New England), and defensive tackles Roy Lopez and Ross Blacklock.

Hopkins spent three seasons in Arizona, amassing 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns on 221 catches in 35 games. He set the franchise record for catches with 115 in his first season with the team and was named second-team All-Pro.

Since then, he has battled injuries and served a six-game suspension, limiting his time on the field.

There had been rumors that the Cardinals would try to trade the receiver this offseason, but the team opted to release him on Friday after failing to find any suitors.

Hopkins was entering the second year of a two-year, $52.5 million contract.

According to the NFL Network, Arizona will not designate him as a “post-June 1” cut and will absorb $22.6 million in dead cap, saving $8.15 million as the 30-year-old was due $30.75 million had he remained on the team.

His release leaves the Cardinals with Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, Hollywood Brown, Zach Pascal, and rookie Michael Wilson as their current receiver group.

Hopkins is the leader in touchdown catches among active players, second in catches and receiving yards, and is now free to sign with any team.

While appearing on the I AM ATHLETE Podcast, he mentioned that the Patriots and Bills were among the teams to inquire about his availability and named a few quarterbacks with whom he would like to play.

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