Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is out of the NFC West.
Well, he’s out of the picture for one team in the NFC West, anyway, after the Arizona Cardinals released Hopkins on Friday.
But that is not necessarily a good thing for the 49ers.
Now, Hopkins has the opportunity to go to a team that could be more of a threat to the 49ers. After all, the Cardinals did not figure to be much of a factor this season with or without Hopkins.
Unable to find a trade partner, the Cardinals brought an end to Hopkins’ tenure with the team Friday. The move clears .38 million in cap space for Arizona while he still accounts for .6 million in dead money. The move was made to wipe his sizable contract off their books for future years.
Hopkins had a big first season with the Cardinals in 2020, catching 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns.
But he sat out 15 of the past 26 games due to injuries and a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
After Hopkins caught nine passes for 91 yards against the 49ers in Mexico City last season, cornerback Charvarius Ward referred to Hopkins as “steroid boy.”
It remains to be seen where Hopkins ends up playing this season, but the 49ers do not appear to be among his potential landing spots.
The 49ers already have top-flight wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, so there’s no reason for either side to move toward San Francisco landing Hopkins.
Samuel is under contract through 2025 on a big-money contract. Also, the 49ers recently picked up the fifth year option for Aiyuk, which will pay him more than million in 2024.
The 49ers could face a difficult situation in the future with the design of keeping Samuel and Aiyuk on the roster for the long term.
RELATED: 49ers pick up Aiyuk’s fifth-year option
Going out and adding another high-priced veteran receiver — especially one who is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off injuries — is a non-starter.