The NFL world’s newest, blue-chip free agent talent in DeAndre Hopkins hit free agency on Friday. The Arizona Cardinals released the veteran wide receiver because they didn’t have access to a trade for him.
What if they brought Ryan Pauls and the Bears to Chicago?
“Please bring him to Chicago,” former NFL player Clay Harbor told NBC Sports’ Josh Schrock of Chicago. Football night in Chicago. “I’d love to have DeAndre Hopkins here. This guy still has juice. After his suspension last year, he’s a legitimate No. 1 receiver.”
Hopkins, 30, is still in his prime and arguably one of the best pass catchers in the league.
Known for his impressive hands and route runner, Hopkins has an astronomical 69 percent catch rate over the past five seasons. He has caught more than 11,000 yards in his career, once surpassing the 1,000-yard mark in six of his 10 seasons in the NFL.
He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Houston Texans before acquiring Deshaun Watson for four seasons. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson in one of the most significant trades in NFL history.
However, he continued to dominate in Arizona before deciding he wanted a career change. Should the Bears enter the tournament?
“That makes our receiving corps top-five in the league in my opinion,” Harbor said. “If you do some work on the defensive line, and if you bring in DeAndre Hopkins, I think you can have a favorite in the NFC North. I’m all for it. I understand why they don’t do it. They want to build with him. This young team.”
The Bears made a splash in the passing market when they traded for DJ Moore in March. For many future draft picks and the receiver included the No. 1 pick. Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool make up a respectable core. Certainly not one of the best in the NFC, but good enough this stage of the Bears’ rebuild.
Schrock addressed the topic in his column for NBC Sports Chicago, noting that Hopkins wants to play for a contender while giving his age on the wrong side of 30. It probably won’t bite, and the move puts the Bears at risk of going under before they even compete in the playoffs.
More: Hopkins is unlikely to join the Plains, Bears for several key reasons.
It’s always fun to think about the possibilities. Not only is the Hopkins-Moore duo a threat, but they accelerate Justin Fields’ development in the game. Perhaps, they can even speed up the rebuilding process.
But you can’t force it. There are many reasons not to take that risk than to pull the trigger now. And, it’s unlikely he’ll be interested in the Bears anyway. On an episode of the “I Am Athlete” podcast and The Fields Are Not Listed, he mentioned five quarterbacks he considered catching a pass.
If Hopkins were to come 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 don’t think I’m against a hit. I don’t think that’s going to happen. But if, for some reason, somehow, Ryan Pauls decides to bring DeAndre Hopkins to Chicago, I’m 100 percent OK with that.”
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