NFL insider explains Patriots’ ‘cautious method’ in contract talks with DeAndre Hopkins


“The ‘what ifs’ have been the deciding issue for either side.”

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz.
DeAndre Hopkins opted to signal with the Titans final week. (AP Photograph/Ralph Freso)

The Patriots misplaced out on the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes final week, with the All-Professional wideout signing a two-year cope with the Titans value as much as $32 million with incentives. 

Contemplating each the reported curiosity between the Patriots and Hopkins, coupled with the veteran’s promising two-day go to to Foxboro final month, seeing the 31-year-old receiver put pen to paper on a cope with Tennessee was a troublesome search for New England.

However primarily based on current reviews, it looks like a contract struck between the Patriots and Hopkins was by no means going to be sensible. 

ESPN insider Mike Reiss echoed such a sentiment throughout his newest Patriots pocket book on Sunday morning. 

“My greatest takeaway from receiver DeAndre Hopkins agreeing to hitch the Titans as an alternative of the Patriots is that the ‘what ifs’ have been the deciding issue for either side,” Reiss wrote. “For Hopkins, an excessive amount of of the Patriots’ supply was tied to incentives.

“And for the Patriots, the ‘what if’ of how Hopkins would match into their program — and what it could seem like if these incentives weren’t near being reached — contributed to their extra cautious method.”

From Hopkins’ perspective, it appears relatively evident that New England was not going to supply up the identical monetary incentive put forth by the Titans.

With out the attraction of taking part in for an elite sign caller (as was beforehand the case for years in New England with Tom Brady), Hopkins opted to go to the very best bidder.

“Patriots stayed in constant contact with DeAndre Hopkins’ camp via free company course of, however their base monetary package deal wasn’t in the identical ballpark as what Titans provided,” ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler tweeted last Sunday. “The nice vibes between [New England] and Hopkins from his workforce go to by no means translated to a workable deal.”

As for the Patriots, the priority over whether or not or not Hopkins would slot in their program is a little more of a head-scratcher. After all, Invoice Belichick may need full confidence in Invoice O’Brien and his potential to show round what was a stagnant New England offense in 2022.

Nonetheless, even when Mac Jones has plenty of pass-catchers to show to already on the roster in Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton, and others, Hopkins probably affords the very best ceiling as a real No. 1 receiving risk.