Now that the debate about the Patriots' interest, or lack thereof, in DeAndre Hopkins can be put to rest with the receiver visiting the team this week, the speculation from insiders has picked back up again.
But this time, the insight given is good news for those who hope Bill Belichick can make the signing happen.
During an appearance on the NFL Network over the weekend, insider Ian Rapoport first discussed the potential fit for Hopkins within the Patriots' offense, which has been highly debated in recent days. For Rapoport, he doesn't see how it doesn't make sense, given the current situation that both the team and Hopkins find themselves in.
"This one actually makes a ton of sense for both sides. If you’re DeAndre Hopkins, you obviously have a ton of respect for Bill Belichick, they have converged over the years on the field and otherwise. Is this a place where he can resurrect his career and show everyone he’s not just old and can’t get open?"
If Hopkins really is on a "revenge tour," as Rapoport claimed, signing with New England wouldn't be a bad place to kick it off.
Not only would he be an immediate WR1, but he would also be one of, if not the biggest, playmakers on the offensive roster. His familiarity with Bill O'Brien would greatly benefit him and the Patriots, especially for a player known not to love practicing and a team in need of an offensive boost.
Plus, the comfort Hopkins would have in knowing most of the type of plays O'Brien would likely draw up would make it far easier for the five-time Pro Bowler to pick up the new playbook.
And since the Patriots currently have ten receivers signed to the team, some question the likelihood of Belichick signing another, mainly a 31-year-old. However, Rapoport said it felt like they weren't done making moves in free agency yet, despite the rumor that they weren't willing to make a big splash with any new signings from just two months ago.
"For the Patriots, it never quite felt to me like they were done in free agency. They seem to be willing to spend on some level. They rarely, rarely do free-agent visits. That should show you how serious, at least on its face, the Patriots are about DeAndre Hopkins."
We know Belichick had been in contact with the Cardinals before them releasing Hopkins, so it's entirely possible that the head coach is more willing now to open the checkbook to get the receiver he's wanted all along.
But before we see DHop in New England, he will first meet with the Tennessee Titans, presumably on Monday, as he has already posted on his social media pages that he is in Nashville as of Sunday evening.
Despite having to wait it out, the Patriots are in a better position than their AFC rival. New England currently sits with a projected $13+ million in cap space, much more than the Titans' projected $7+ million. So if Hopkins is chasing the money, Belichick should work his magic to get the deal done.
When the meeting is set to take place has yet to be revealed. Hopefully, we will find out once the meeting with the Titans has been completed.