Well, the NFL offseason has certainly taken an interesting turn the weekend into Memorial Day. The New York Jets have already built a team that many think can contend for a Super Bowl this season and might have gotten a golden opportunity to add even more.
With the Arizona Cardinals’ release of DeAndre Hopkins, a top wide receiver has now become available to the highest bidder without any need for draft compensation to be parted with. Very few times in league history does an opportunity like this come up, and the organization that usually goes after a player of Hopkins’ stature gets rewarded very nicely.
Like any decision that involved a 30-year-old athlete, there are both pros and cons to a team like the Jets acquiring a player like Hopkins. And when it comes to New York, there are only three questions that need to be asked.
How would Hopkins fit with the current roster?
This seems like a no-brainer situation for the Jets. Hopkins is a top receiver in the game, and pairing him up with the likes of Allen Lazard and Garrett Wilson would make the offense a formidable foe to battle. Add in Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball and New York’s offense could be the most prolific in franchise history.
But bringing in a player like Hopkins also has its downsides. For one, he will probably take a large number of targets away from Wilson. Receivers want the football and if Wilson isn’t getting his targets, he could become disgruntled and the Jets would have a very difficult situation on their hands.
There’s also the very real idea that Hopkins doesn’t work well with Rodgers and becomes a cancer within the locker room after a couple of weeks of trying to force the ball to him. That isn’t to say Hopkins is a bad person, but receivers are very focused on making sure they get their targets. When something comes in to shift the balance of that, they aren’t usually too happy.
How does he fit within the cap space situation?
New York currently possesses approximately $18 million in cap space. With long-term deals coming for both Quinnen Williams and Aaron Rodgers, there may not be enough room for the team to find a way to put Hopkins on the active roster.
There are ways to open more space up though. Cutting Corey Davis would save the Jets over $10 million in space while restructured contracts to C.J. Mosley and Jordan Whitehead will save even more. If all three were moved or restructured, Gang Green would have more than enough firepower in cap space to bring him in.
If the Jets want to bring in a guy like Hopkins, they certainly have the tools to do so.
Is this a position of need?
Wide receiver isn’t exactly a position of need for the New York Jets – that much is obvious. They have the reigning offensive rookie of the year, a very solid second guy, and plenty of strong third options that would make a lot of quarterbacks around the league jealous.
So is bringing Hopkins really necessary?
New York can solve their questions and safety and linebacker before they go after a player like Hopkins. If the team ended up acquiring Budda Baker in a trade but let Hopkins walk to a place like Buffalo or Kansas City, would the fans be upset?
These are questions that general manager Joe Douglas will need to answer over the coming days. Hopkins would certainly add more star power to a team that has plenty and could certainly put them over the top for a championship. But his arrival doesn’t guarantee a Super Bowl.
If New York finds that they are better off looking for upgrades at different positions, it would be hard to blame them for that line of thinking.
Regardless, let the bidding begin for one of the league’s best receivers!
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