Free agent WR DeAndre Hopkins is in no rush to sign with a new team, but when he does the odds that he signs in New England are very good.
Vegas sports books have the Patriots as +100 odds to sign him. The Bills come in at +350 and the Titans at +400. It is being reported that Hopkins is going over offers from the Titans and Patriots.
Certainly the Bills must be a team that Hopkins is intrigued by, but their salary cap constraints make it hard for them to structure a deal that Hopkins is looking for. Perhaps if the Bills traded WR Stefon Diggs they would then create the cap space to make a competitive offer to Hopkins, but until then it would appear the Bills are on the outside looking in when it comes to a reasonable chance they would sign him.
Diggs is reportedly unhappy with how has been used in Buffalo, along with his perceived lack of targets and his desire to be more involved in the play calling.
He signed a four-year, $96 million contract extension with the Bills in April 2022.
The Bills currently have $5.5-million in cap space and would create $30-million of cap space if Diggs was traded or cut. But, they would have to eat $40-million of dead money on their cap in 2023. That's a lot of dead money to absorb, and I would think there would have to be some other players contracts restructured in order to fit the signing of Hopkins.
The Patriots have $15-million in caps space and the Titans have $8-million, which puts the Patriots in the best shape to get Hopkins the money he wants, which is reportedly in the $20-million range per year on a two year contract.
One interesting factor that could be weighing on Hopkins is whether he wants to play football in a cold climate. He played college ball in Clemson before being drafted by the Houston Texans. He was then traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020.
Those teams are all in warm locations. Could Hopkins be hoping for a team from a warmer climate to jump into the offer pool?
Looking back through Hopkins' past five seasons only about two games per year were played in what were probably outdoor cold weather games. It would certainly be a different atmosphere in New England and Tennessee if he were to sign with either of those teams.