The Arizona Cardinals are officially looking ahead to next year with Friday's release of DeAndre Hopkins. Whenever a star player like Hopkins is cut, teams across the league act out in desperation while begging for their services. The Los Angeles Rams should not be one of those teams, no matter how badly some fans want it to happen.
Does it really make all that much sense though? LA, like Arizona is rebuilding. The Cardinals just happen to be making it more obvious to the league. At least the Rams will be glad to know that they'll be getting two free wins this season. Anyways, this squad based in Los Angeles isn't as appealing as the one led by Justin Herbert, one of the QBs Hopkins had mentioned he'd love to play with.
For his career, Hopkins has snagged touchdown passes from 11 different starting quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford would be the best quarterback the All-Pro has ever played with, aside from Deshaun Watson and Brock Osweiler. (Yes that last name was obviously a joke so please don't roast me.) On paper, LA's organization would be intriguing to a player of Hopkins' caliber.
The Rams can meet two of those three demands. Not sure how their defense will fare even with Aaron Donald still at the top of his game. Stafford has a strong rapport with his teammates in Southern California so bringing Hopkins on board would be easy. LA has very stable management as Les Snead has been the team's general manager since 2012. Again, the organization has plenty to offer so what's the hold up?
It would be a dream seeing a pairing of Cooper Kupp and D-Hop on the same team. As heavenly as that would be, this isn't the Rams of year's past. If Hopkins was released back in the early years of the Sean McVay era, you would bet Snead would scoop him off the open market in a heartbeat. However, the Rams likely wouldn't be able to afford him if they were a contender for his services.
There's zero chance Hopkins would sign a lower offer to join the Rams because the team isn't close to being a championship contender. Compared to D-Hop's desired destinations like Buffalo, Baltimore and (SIGH) Kansas City, they're in a better position to win a Super Bowl, or repeat in the Chiefs' case than LA. Each of them have way more to offer so what's the point in kidding ourselves? This isn't 2021 anymore.
Acquiring Hopkins would also be quite unfair to the youngsters aiming for a roster spot. Rookie Puka Nacua has been standing out so far at OTAs. Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell each flashed their potential at the end of last year. Bringing in a veteran playmaker would assist in their development yet would hinder their grown more than help it. Nacua, Skowronek and yes, even Atwell deserve a chance to prove themselves rather than risk being buried on the depth chart with Hopkins on board.
Then there's the injury history. Hopkins hasn't played a full season since 2020, his first in the desert. The last two campaigns, D-Hop started 19 total games and missed the Cardinals' Wild Card Round matchup against the Rams in '21. Injuries will always be an issue for a player on the wrong side of 30 but Hopkins still possesses elite pass catching skills. He's likely a borderline top-10 wideout regardless of who he plays for this fall.
Seeing Hopkins with the Rams would make the fanbase ecstatic although it wouldn't solve their problems. The old Rams wouldn't hesitate to sign a perennial All-Pro. This year's team should think twice before dipping their toes into the DeAndre Hopkins market.