$3,000,000 Obstacle Pops Up for Patrick Mahomes & Co’s Noble Pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins

Published 05/27/2023, 5:49 AM EDT

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After the quarterback dominoes fell this offseason, the wide receiver market shook things up for a change. The Arizona Cardinals released their WR1 DeAndre Hopkins, making him a free agent. As for his future destination, D-Hop has a few teams in mind. However, what excited fans the most was the possibility of Hopkins teaming up with 2x Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. But what exactly is standing in the way of the two superstars joining their forces?

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Well, it’s one of Tom Brady’s ex-teammates that has caused the roadblock in Hopkins coming to the Kansas City Chiefs. Donovan Smith joined the Chiefs roster this offseason. And through no fault of his own, he has made the DeAndre Hopkins signing unfeasible at the moment. How?

Patrick Mahomes and D-Hop’s connection gets an unlikely interruption

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The Chiefs expressed their interest in DeAndre Hopkins before the 2023 NFL Draft. However, with things slowing down in the negotiations, Kansas City roped in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith on a one-year $3 million deal this year. This has brought the Chiefs’ available 2023 cap room to $2.8 million. That’s certainly not enough to accommodate the former Houston Texans pass catcher.

The Chiefs received permission to talk with DeAndre Hopkins earlier in the offseason and spoke to him before the draft, per sources. The contract was the hurdle, and to do it now, the price would have to come way down. KC likes him, but the deal they gave Donovan Smith makes $$$ tough,” senior Sports Illustrated NFL reporter Albert Breer tweeted.

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Hopkins signed a 2-year $54.5 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. The Cardinals took a dead cap hit of $22.6 million after deciding to part ways with their receiver.

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So what can the Chiefs do to pair up Hopkins and their star quarterback Mahomes?

Possible restructuring situations that could bring in DeAndre Hopkins

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Patrick Mahomes has already taken a significant pay cut this season and freed up $9.6 million in cap room. Now it’s time for the other Chiefs to step up. Namely, defensive behemoth and back-to-back 4x Pro Bowler DT, Chris Jones.

Jones is still on his 4-year $80 million contract and becomes a free agent next year. If the Chiefs sign the tackle to a long-term extension, the contract restructuring can free up to $16 million in cap space for Clark Hunt’s franchise. The other option would be to spread out Hopkins’ contract over multiple void years to reduce the cap hit. And KC will look to their salary cap wizard Brandt Tilis to work his magic.

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With Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman leaving the receiving roster this offseason, the Chiefs can certainly use some pass-catching ammunition. And it doesn’t get much better than Clemson product DeAndre Hopkins. Will D-Hop don the Arrowhead red and white next season?

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Written by:

Soumyapriyo Ganguly

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Soumyapriyo Ganguly is an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. Ganguly (or Rivu, as he is affectionately known) is a sports enthusiast and a comprehensive all-rounder when it comes to dissecting high-profile matchups. He brings his academic background in Economics and Finance to the fore to provide insights into franchise finances and player contracts.
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Edited by:

Nidhi Rana

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