It is an indisputable fact that the New York Giants would markedly improve if they were to acquire wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was recently released by the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona will bear the final year of his two-year, $54.5 million contract.
At 30 years old, Hopkins is still at his peak but could witness a considerable decline over the next few seasons as age catches up. Nonetheless, he remains one of the most effective receivers in the game and would instantly become the Giants’ top target.
Big Blue has already procured star tight end Darren Waller, who is expected to assume a significant role in the receiving game. His modest $4M cap hit indicates that the Giants might be able to apportion additional funds to the wide receiver position.
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The Giants would need to clear salary space for DeAndre Hopkins:
The challenge lies in how GM Joe Schoen can navigate their salary situation, with just $3.8 million in available cap space currently.
The Giants are still awaiting Saquon Barkley’s signature on his $10.1 million franchise tag, which will significantly reduce their available space, but there are methods they can employ to make room for Hopkins.
For instance, the Giants could extend Barkley’s contract, maintaining his salary at a lower level for the 2023 season and increasing the figures over the subsequent years.
Additionally, they can restructure the contracts of both Adoree Jackson and Leonard Williams, thereby freeing up financial space. Moreover, they could always offer Hopkins a multi-year deal and defer the majority of the salary to the second and third years, although this is typically not a recommended strategy.
In essence, securing Hopkins would be a “win now” move, and the Giants would need to be convinced they’re capable of making a significant leap forward and genuinely vying during the postseason.
Despite a talent deficit on the roster in 2022, they managed to scrape through to the playoffs and secure a Wild Card game victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
Supplying quarterback Daniel Jones with a genuine WR1 could considerably uplift his performance. While the Giants did bring in Waller to help emulate WR1 statistics, given his medical history, it might be an optimistic anticipation.
Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Giants are one of several teams who could be a “best fit” for Hopkins:
“New York has many supporting players at wide receiver but no alpha. Is it time to give Daniel Jones an elite guy once and for all? Perhaps Darren Waller assumes that role, but he’s a tight end. The NFC East is only getting better, and the Giants might need to win some shootouts. The problem is that the Giants have $4.5 million in cap space and still need to extend Saquon Barkley.”
Despite Arizona’s underwhelming offense in 2022, Hopkins managed to record 717 yards and three touchdowns with a 66.7% catch rate. Last year, Hopkins exhibited a mere 1.5% drop rate and boasts a career drop rate of 3.3%, signifying he possesses some of the surest hands in football, fully capable of seizing the laser beams thrown by Jones.
One might argue that trading Barkley and securing Hopkins could prove more advantageous to the Giants, considering the often interchangeable nature of running back play.
Undoubtedly, Barkley brings exceptional talent and output to the position, but given recent NFL tendencies, Hopkins could potentially make a larger impact as he would enhance the performance of Daniel Jones.
There’s no denying the Giants would be interested in signing Hopkins, but financial constraints may hold them back. There are always strategies to create more salary space, but such measures would suggest contract restructurings and possible cuts to reallocate funds.