Why the DeAndre Hopkins-49ers NFL free agency deal doesn’t make sense

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is out of the NFC West.

Well, for one team in the NFC West, anyway, the Arizona Cardinals after releasing Hopkins on Friday.

But that’s not necessarily a good thing for the 49ers.

Now, Hopkins has the opportunity to go to a team that can be more threatening to the 49ers. After all, the Cardinals haven’t had much of an impact this season with or without Hopkins.

Unable to find a trade partner, the Cardinals terminated Hopkins’ tenure with the team on Friday. The move clears .38 million in cap space for Arizona, who still has .6 million in dead money. The move was made to wipe the massive 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 last 26 games because of an injury and a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Against the 49ers last season in Mexico City, where Hopkins caught nine passes for 91 yards, cornerback Charvarius Ward called Hopkins a “steroid kid.”

It remains to be seen where Hopkins ends up playing this season, but the 49ers don’t appear to be among the most likely places to land him.

The 49ers already have high-flying wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, so there’s no reason for either side to land Hopkins in San Francisco.

Samuels is under contract until 2025 on a big-money contract. Also, the 49ers recently picked up a fifth-year option for Ayuck, which will pay him over a million in 2024.

The 49ers’ plan to keep Samuels and Ayuck on the roster long-term could be difficult going forward.

RELATED: 49ers pick up Aiyuk’s fifth-year option

Going out and adding another high-priced veteran receiver — especially one who’s on the wrong side of over 30 and coming off an injury — is a non-starter.

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