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New team expresses interest in DeAndre Hopkins

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The DeAndre Hopkins free agency saga continues and his first visit is with an unexpected team. 

The Arizona Cardinals cut DeAndre Hopkins last month, instantly making him the most sought-after receiver on the market. Hopkins has dealt with injuries the last couple years, but he remains a dynamic pass-catcher who can infuse any offense with big-play ability.

A laundry list of teams have been rumored as potential destinations for Hopkins: New England, Buffalo, Kansas City, Cleveland, even his old stomping grounds in Houston. The first team to get a visit with the veteran wide receiver, however, is the Tennessee Titans.

Hopkins will fly to Nashville on Sunday to meet with team officials, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

NFL rumors: Tennessee Titans will host DeAndre Hopkins’ first free agent visit

The Titans are a surprising candidate to emerge in the Hopkins sweepstakes… or are they?

A cursory dig below the surface makes Tennessee seem like the perfect destination for Hopkins. The Titans took a noticeable step back last season, primarily because of the offense. There’s still confidence in QB Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry is the best running back in football, but there’s a glaring hole in the depth chart at — you guessed it! — wide receiver.

The team’s top receiver from last season, Robert Woods, is no longer with the organization. Meanwhile, head coach Mike Vrabel shared the sidelines with Hopkins in Houston from 2014-17 as the Texans’ linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator prior to Tennessee hiring him in 2018. New Titans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly also coached Hopkins in Houston until the receiver’s departure in 2019.

That baseline familiarity, combined with the glaring hole at receiver, could make the Titans an appealing destination for Hopkins. He likely still views himself as one of the best players at his position. Tennessee would immediately slot him in the No. 1 receiver role and provide him with a heavy target share.

It is worth noting that the 31-year-old is past his prime. Having dealt with multiple injuries in recent years, Hopkins averaged the lowest yards-per-catch of his career in 2022. He can still elevate for highlight-reel grabs and burn defenses for yards after the catch, but he’s not the same player who led the AFC in touchdown receptions six years ago.

The Titans, however, desperately need talent and experience in the receiving corps, so even 80 percent of prime Hopkins would pay massive dividends. He will probably take meetings with other teams, but don’t be shocked if Tennessee is the veteran receiver’s next home.



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