The NFL world saw a new, blue-chip free agent skill player hit free agency in DeAndre Hopkins on Friday. The Arizona Cardinals released the veteran wide receiver after failing to find a trade destination for him.
What if Ryan Poles and the Bears brought him to Chicago?
“Bring him to Chicago, please,” former NFL player Clay Harbor said to NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock on Football Night in Chicago. “I would love to have DeAndre Hopkins here. This guy’s still got juice. After he came back from his suspension last year, he’s a legit No. 1 receiver.”
Hopkins, 30, is still in his prime and arguably one of the best pass-catchers in the league.
Known for his incredible hands and route-running, Hopkins has an astronomical 69 percent catch rate over the last five seasons of his career. He’s caught for over 11,000 yards in his career, exceeding the 1,000-yard mark in a single season in six of his 10 seasons in the NFL.
He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Houston Texans, going through a carousel of quarterbacks before having Deshaun Watson at his disposal for four seasons. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson in arguably one of the least beneficial trades in the history of the NFL.
Yet, he continued his dominant, pass-catching ways in Arizona before deciding he wants a change in his career. Should the Bears enter the sweepstakes?
“That would put our receiving core, in my opinion, top-five in the league,” Harbor said. “If you do some work on the defensive line, plus bring in DeAndre Hopkins, I think you might have the favorite in the NFC North. I’m for it. I understand why they wouldn’t do it. You want to build with this young team.”
The Bears made their splash in the pass-catching market when they traded for DJ Moore back in March. They included the No. 1 pick for a package of several future draft picks and the receiver. Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool make for a respectable core. It’s certainly not one of the best in the NFC, but enough to suffice this stage of the Bears’ rebuild.
Schrock tackled the topic in his column for NBC Sports Chicago, mentioning the fact that Hopkins wants to play for a contender, given his age on the wrong side of 30. And while the Bears could offer Hopkins a sizable contract with their excess cap space, he likely wouldn’t bite, and the move risks him declining before the Bears can contend in the playoffs.
MORE: Hopkins unlikely to join Fields, Bears for several key reasons
It’s always fun to think of the possibilities. Not only would a duo of Hopkins-Moore be a tantalizing threat, but they would also expedite Justin Fields’ development in the passing game. Maybe, they could even speed up the process of the rebuild.
But you can’t force it. There are more reasons not to make that risk than to pull the trigger now. And, it’s unlikely he would be interested in the Bears anyways. He mentioned the five quarterbacks he hopes to catch passes from on an episode of the “I am Athlete” podcast and Fields was not listed.
If Hopkins were brought to Chicago, however, it would be a crazy time for Bears fans.
“I think the NFC North is so wide open, if you bring in DeAndre Hopkins, I think he can fit in here,” Harbor said. “And I think I wouldn’t be opposed to hit. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But if for some reason, in some way, Ryan Poles decides to bring DeAndre Hopkins here to Chicago I would 100 percent be OK with it.”