Sean Pendergast

DeAndre Hopkins Signs Two Year Deal With Tennessee Titans

DeAndre Hopkins will be back in the Texans' lives, twice a year, after signing with Tennessee.
DeAndre Hopkins will be back in the Texans' lives, twice a year, after signing with Tennessee. Photo by Eric Sauseda
It's rare that a potential Hall of Fame player still in his prime, albeit one who's missed nearly half the available games over the past two seasons, is available at this juncture of the offseason. However, when the Arizona Cardinals couldn't find a suitable trade partner to whom they could send DeAndre Hopkins, then one became available.

The Cardinals released Hopkins toward the end of May, opting to eat a $20 million dead money hit and move on, then work to find a deal that would net them anything in the way of draft capital. For the first time in his career, Hopkins was a free agent. His journey will be reportedly be coming to an end in the next day or two, as he reportedly is agreeing to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals:
Hopkins' peak years came from 2017 through 2020, when he was first team All Pro three times and made the Pro Bowl all four seasons. Hopkins turned 31 years old in June, so if he is still in his prime, it's the back end of said prime. While he's missed 15 games the last two years, his per game stats the last two seasons would indicate that there is still something left in the tank.

This we do know — if Hopkins remains healthy, the Texans will see him twice in each of the next two seasons, which is a good place to begin some ancillary thoughts on this pending transaction:

Should the Texans have been in the Hopkins market?
Hopkins' deal will land anywhere from $13 million to $16 million over each of the next two seasons. Without knowing the signing bonus structure and possible voidable years on the back end, it's hard to know what the exact cap hits are each season. That said, the Texans could have done this deal. Hopkins had intimated that he would be open to a return to the Texans, but it never seemed to get out of first gear. Hopkins would have been a big help for a rookie quarterback, although it's fair to wonder if Hopkins' practice habits (read: he HATES practicing) were viewed as a potential gray could in a room full of very young wide receivers like John Metchie, Tank Dell, and Nico Collins. Gun to my head, I'd have done this deal, if I were the Texans, but we don't know if either side was truly serious about talking.

It's clear what Hopkins' priorities were
If we are reading the tea leaves, I feel safe in assuming that Hopkins' two biggest priorities in a new employer were money and the number of targets he will receive. At this late stage of the offseason, two years and $26 million is pretty good for a player of Hopkins' age and with his recent injury history, not to mention a PED suspension in 2022. He immediately becomes the number one wide receiver on the Titans, which means, if healthy, he should put up another 1,000 yards season. and possibly get his trip to Canton and the Hall of Fame back on track. Up through 2020, Hopkins' numbers and accolades were Canton worthy. There is no way, however, Hopkins can say with a straight face that he is prioritizing winning. The Titans are more likely to be breaking in a rookie QB by season's end than winning the division, and they closed out 2022 with a seven game losing streak.

We are deprived of the drama of a Hopkins-O'Brien reunion!
Tennessee was one of two places that Hopkins visited during his free agency journey. The other one was New England, where Hopkins would have been reunited with the man who traded him for a ham sandwich and a bag of used balls — Bill O'Brien. O'Brien is now the offensive coordinator in New England, which means he would have been the one pulling the trigger on the play calls to get Hopkins the ball. Lost in the vitriol of the 2020 trade of Hopkins is the fact that Hopkins had all those All Pro seasons with, wait for it... O'BRIEN CALLING THE PLAYS! It would have been fascinating to see how that dynamic would have played out in New England. Alas, the gods deprive us.

Date to circle on the calendar — Sunday, December 17 — and here is why
Back to the Texans for one minute. I know this is a sore spot with many older Houstonians, who were fans and maybe even season ticket holders for the Houston Oilers, but the Titans do own the rights to the old Oiler uniforms, if they were to ever get dusted off. Word on the street is that the Titans may do just that for the Week 15 (December 17, 2023) game against the Texans in Nashville. I'm not sure Houston social media is read for DeAndre Hopkins winning out of the tunnel in Nashville wearing an Oilers uniform. We will see some epic meltdowns that day!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast