Now that DeAndre Hopkins has concluded his meeting with the Titans without a contract, it was announced on Tuesday that the receiver would officially be visiting the Patriots on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
With so much hope in the air from fans and even some of the New England players that Hopkins will sign with the team, many people are discussing the financial ramifications of signing a player of his caliber.
Fortunately for the Patriots, they have the cap space to offer Hopkins more than what the Titans could if they get to that point, but the contract that he is looking for is not known at this time.
Considering the two teams he agreed to visit are not on the path to winning a Super Bowl soon, it's fair to assume he's looking for a big payday. But how much would the Patriots be willing to cough up?
Ian Rapoport recently reported that the organization would be willing to pay the price in order to get Hopkins on the team. However, one former Patriots linebacker doesn't believe they should do that.
While appearing on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Tuesday, two-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Ninkovich shared he feels that Hopkins signing with his former team would be a great move for both parties, emphasizing the familiarity between the receiver and Bill O'Brien as a leading factor.
"I think this would be a great spot for D-Hop, because of Mac Jones, Billy O, the way this offense is going to run. And then you look at the depth chart, you’ve got JuJu (Smith-Schuster), you’ve got (DeVante) Parker, you’ve got (Kendrick) Bourne, you’ve got the young kid, (Tyquan) Thornton, right? I think his addition, he’s not going to be like a 100-catch, just use, use, use him up. It’s a good piece. He’s a great piece. He’s like a 1A.
So, you bring him in and Billy O knows exactly where to use him, exactly ‘what plays I wanna run with you, like, this is when you’re gonna take the top off the defense, this is when you’re gonna run your sail routes, in the red zone you’re a huge go-to guy.’ And I think that gives Mac Jones a ton of confidence."
But when the topic of how much the Patriots should offer in a contract, Ninkovich wasn't so thrilled on the idea of what it may cost, citing Odell Beckham Jr.'s deal with the Ravens earlier this year.
"I don’t know about that one. That’s the tough part because the contract that OBJ signed, the Ravens way overpaid for him. I know D-Hop is a free agent, and he’s trying to get, I guess, the last bite or the biggest contract he can. I don’t know if you do that. If you’re the Patriots, I don’t think you throw him the most money."
When Baltimore signed Beckham during free agency, the price tag really turned the wide receiver market upside down.
The receiver missed the entire 2022 season due to recovering from an ACL tear in the Super Bowl, which made teams a bit weary of bringing him in. His performance up to his injury was on par with what you expect from OBJ, but an ACL injury can severely change a player's performance, hence the hesitation by teams around the league even entertaining the idea of inquiring about a visit.
It was then announced Beckham was signing a one-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens, putting him in the top-ten of highest-paid receivers in the league.
Because free agency was in high gear at the time, and several teams were hoping to trade or sign a receiver, Beckham's contract forced teams to step away from making any moves they may have considered due to the spike in price.
That's what Ninkovich seems to take the most issue with regarding the Patriots signing a talent like Hopkins, regardless of how much he would immediately elevate the team's offense.
"I would love to see him here (in New England). I think he would be a great addition to the team. I think he would help us tremendously. But when it comes to the 15-plus million (dollars), I’m not sure. I don’t know if they’d want to go out there and do it."
Most fans are hoping the team will pay whatever Hopkins is looking for to ensure he's on the team for the upcoming season, and they will undoubtedly be disappointed if the receiver leaves New England without a contract.
The Patriots will have the next two days to work their magic while Hopkins visits on Wednesday and Thursday.