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Report: Patriots Hosting WR DeAndre Hopkins on Free Agent Visit

According to reports, the five-time Pro Bowl receiver will visit the Patriots next week. 

Free agent wide receive DeAndre Hopkins.
Free agent wide receive DeAndre Hopkins.

NOTE: The below post is analysis by the writer to a media report and does not reflect the views or opinions of the New England Patriots.

The Patriots have officially entered the sweepstakes for five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins.

According to NFL Network, Hopkins will visit Foxboro next week to meet with the Patriots about potentially signing in New England. The former Texans and Cardinals star will reportedly visit the Titans and potentially other teams before deciding where he'll play in 2023.

Hopkins is an enticing free-agent target, with the Pats having the salary cap flexibility and a need at the top of the depth chart to add the star wideout. Hopkins also thrived for six seasons under offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, making first-team All-Pro three times in O'Brien's system, and shares a mutual respect with head coach Bill Belichick. Although it's far from a done deal, there's interest between the parties that could lead to the 31-year-old landing with the Patriots.

Last season, Hopkins served a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) policy after only playing ten games the year before due to injury. The Cardinals began shopping Hopkins earlier this offseason hoping to find a trade partner. Arizona had trade discussions with several teams, but due to Hopkins's age and contract, a deal never came to fruition resulting in Hopkins's release on May 26.

Now an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team, a lacking trade market has led to chatter around league circles that Hopkins's play could be declining. However, the star wideout still averaged 79.7 receiving yards in nine games with Arizona last season, which was tenth in the NFL. If you project his 64 catches, 717 yards, and three touchdowns over a 17-game season, Hopkins's production would rank among the best receivers in the NFL: 121 catches, 1,354 yards, and six scores. Certainly, numbers a WR-needy team would take in a heartbeat.

Although Hopkins might not run by defenders downfield anymore, vertical speed was never a carrying trait for the three-time All-Pro receiver. Instead, Hopkins presents a consistent chain-mover with excellent hands, body control, a large catch radius, and sharp route-running. His suddenness at the top of the route creates enough separation for his physicality to shine, making him a true number-one option when healthy.

If the Patriots and Hopkins strike a deal, the 6-foot-1 wideout would immediately give New England's offense a legit "X" receiver who would draw top coverage assignments, alter defensive game plans, and establish a proper pecking order in the Pats passing game.

Hopkins could be the final piece to the puzzle for quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots offense to make a significant leap this season. Now, New England has to close the deal.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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