After all the commotion creating excitement about the Patriots looking like strong contenders to sign DeAndre Hopkins in recent weeks, things have been quiet since the receiver visited Foxboro, and it's becoming a bit concerning to the New England fans.
Because the visit reportedly went well, spanning over two days, there was hope that we would see a deal quicker than anticipated. Even some NFL insiders and reporters believed that was possible as well.
But as the days continue to pass by without any updates on the situation from either party, it starts to beg the question, what's the holdup?
There are a few factors to consider when deciphering what might be happening here and slowing the process down.
Firstly, it was widely suggested that Hopkins sign somewhere closer to the start of training camp, which begins for all teams in mid-late July. That could certainly be one, if not the biggest, factor stalling the process.
However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer revealed another theory during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston last week, suggesting that Hopkins is potentially waiting for a Super Bowl contending team to step up and express interest in signing him.
"What this tells me ... is that he's still holding out hope that he's going to play for a contender - a true contender like Buffalo or Kansas City. The one thing you want to watch here: Kansas City has almost no cap space. They're working on a long-term deal for Chris Jones, their star defensive tackle, to lower his cap number. If that happens, the door could open back up for him going back to the Chiefs."
Considering the Chiefs and Bills had been rumored to be interested in trading for Hopkins when he was with the Cardinals earlier this year but backed off once Arizona was unwilling to lower their asking price, it wouldn't be surprising for Hopkins to hold out hope they'll inquire again soon.
At this point in his career, it makes sense that an accomplished 31-year-old receiver who has yet to experience much success with the teams he has been part of would want to go somewhere that gives him the best chance of making the playoffs if not the Super Bowl. The two teams he has visited with, the Patriots and the Titans, are not considered Super Bowl favorites by any means but could compensate him the amount he was hoping for once hitting the free agent market.
That's something Breer also emphasized; the teams most likely to have a deep postseason run don't currently have the salary cap to accommodate Hopkins. With some contract manipulation of players on the roster, cap space could open up. But it can be challenging to do that, especially when a guy like Hopkins is hoping for a specific amount of money.
"I think really what he's waiting for is something like that to materialize, because the money isn't great. It's not the Odell Beckham level, which was what he was looking for, and absent the money, I think he does want to play for a true contender."
Of course, this is all just speculation at this point. Hopkins hasn't said anything regarding his intentions of signing where or when. Even the most recent reports claim the Patriots have extended a contract offer to him, but nothing is said to be done at this point.
The original suggestion of Hopkins signing with a team closer to training camp is likely the most accurate, considering his veteran status, and waiting makes sense to entertain other teams that may express interest.
So unfortunately, Patriots fans will have to wait this one out and hope that Hopkins will make his decision sooner than later while also hoping that the decision is to sign with the Patriots.