NY Jets should pivot to DeAndre Hopkins after missing on Odell Beckham Jr.
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets may have missed on landing one high-profile wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr., but the opportunity to add a true superstar wideout is still present. DeAndre Hopkins should be the Jets' next target.
The Jets believed they were on the verge of signing Beckham after months of recruitment. The former Pro Bowler was set to visit with the team on Monday before the Baltimore Ravens called and made him an offer he couldn't turn down.
Beckham's decision leaves the Jets with a wide receiver room of Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, and Mecole Hardman, although many still believe Davis will be released or included in the eventual Aaron Rodgers trade.
That's a perfectly acceptable wide receiver room with Davis, but if the Jets are truly committed to going all-in in 2023, the opportunity to add another star receiver like Hopkins shouldn't be ignored. If anything, it probably should have been a priority from the start.
DeAndre Hopkins would be a massive addition for the NY Jets
Trading for Hopkins comes with a more significant financial commitment than signing Beckham would have, but that's because Hopkins is a much better player than his fellow wide receiver.
The three-time All-Pro was suspended for the first six games in 2022, but in just nine games, Hopkins finished with 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns. That's a pace of roughly 121 catches and 1,354 yards in a 17-game season.
Hopkins still has it. Anyone who suggests he doesn't is kidding themselves. He put up those numbers despite playing in a bad Cardinals offense, catching passes from Colt McCoy and Trace McSorley for half the games he played.
Even at age 30 (he turns 31 in June), Hopkins has shown no signs that he's on the decline. His injury-riddled 2021 season — during which he still recorded eight touchdowns in 10 games — can be easily overlooked when you see what he did the following season.
The issue, of course, is money. I'm not too worried about potential compensation with a Hopkins trade. For starters, there's no guarantee the Cardinals even find a bidder — there are rumors he could simply be released.
Even still, the Jets should be able to package some 2023 and possibly even 2024 draft capital to get it done. It likely won't cost any more than what the Miami Dolphins traded for Jalen Ramsey.
The finances, on the other hand, might be a little tricky. Hopkins still has two years and $36.36 million remaining on his deal, although it's widely expected that any team trading for him will work out a new contract.
Spotrac projects that contract at around three years, $69.6 million, which is roughly $23.2 million per season. That's a lot of money for a cap-strapped team like the Jets, although there are ways of mitigating his cap hit.
The Jets shouldn't be content with an acceptable skill position group. They have a collection of good players, but the only true difference-maker is Garrett Wilson, especially with Breece Hall still recovering from injury.
Adding Hopkins would give the Jets one of the best wide receiver groups in the NFL. Competing in the NFL isn't just about plugging holes and having passable starting units — it's about adding superstars who have the ability to genuinely change opposing game plans.
If the Jets want to compete with the best teams in the league, or even the best teams in their division, they need more players like that, especially on offense.
DeAndre Hopkins should be a primary target for the Jets. It's time to make a statement.