The New England Patriots refused to overpay for Deandre Hopkins

New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Signing NFL free agents can be a lot like buying Beanie Babies back in the day, Pokemon cards, or any other fad that lasted about a year. There’s a mad dash for the player, so you pay top dollar to get him, and a year later he’s worth half of what you paid. 

As much criticism as we give Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick for being cheap or stingy, the reality is, he doesn’t get caught in the trap of overpaying. He’s a savvy investor, whose assets only grow in value. The best example of this is cornerback Stephon Gilmore who was signed to a large contract in 2017, and by 2019 that same contract was the most team-friendly deal in the NFL.

There are those that believe Belichick “missed out” on free agent receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who just signed a two-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Those people would be dead wrong since there is a huge difference between missing out and refusing to overpay for a player. Hopkins signed a deal worth up to $32 million total, or $16 million per year. 

This would give Hopkins the 7th biggest salary for a wide receiver in the league in 2023. I can’t think of a good reason to offer him more than Cooper Kupp, who caught 220 balls over the last 2 seasons (Hopkins hauled in just 160). Hopkins may have p[layed only 19 games over the last 2 years, but that’s even more of a reason not to give him a big payday. He can’t stay on the field.

In Bill we trust. That trust has been rewarded time and time again, or in Belichick's own words, over “the last 25 years”. He didn’t see any reason to over 50% more money to Hopkins than he did for Juju Smith-Schuster, especially considering Juju is 5 years younger, and actually played 16 games last year. 

As Patriots fans, we should be celebrating the Titans' signing of DeAndre Hopkins. An AFC rival just shot themselves in the foot with a bad contract for an aging wide receiver, and the Patriots avoided a mistake that wouldn’t have paid off. This is great news since it could have been us, but thankfully, Bill doesn’t make those kinds of mistakes.