Michael Bidwill was asked today whether there were any or conversations had, or commitments made, between the Cardinals and DeAndre Hopkins regarding a new contract, or raise. Those conversations, or a lack thereof, are reportedly what got Hopkins traded out of Houston in the first place. Bidwill said Steve Keim has had "some" conversations regarding the subject, and then the press conference shifted abruptly to a conversation around the challenges an NFL organization faces working remotely.
That was that, and no more real questions were asked about the Cardinals' new best player.
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, who was intimately in touch with the Hopkins-O'Brien relationship in Houston, reported on my show that Hopkins wants a raise of $3-4 million dollars per year on average, which would have him earning around to $16-17 million dollars per year. Wilson said he'd imagine the two sides get a deal done later, rather than sooner.
That makes sense, given what the Cardinals gave up for Hopkins. A 2nd-round pick is an extremely low asking price for a top-3 player at his position, especially when you consider that the Cardinals unloaded one of the NFL's worst contracts, David Johnson's, in the process. If Hopkins played just one year for Arizona, and then asked out upon Keim's refusal to give him a raise at the end of the 2020 season, Keim could realistically flip Hopkins for a 1st-round pick next offseason without giving him a raise at all.
Hopkins doesn't have a ton of leverage here. Maybe that's why Michael Bidwill's expression and tone became so deliberate when he was asked about his shiny new toy.
Would the Cardinals like to get a long-term deal done? Surely, at some point. But, it may be better business to wait until after he plays a full season in Arizona. That is, after Larry Fitzgerald, Kliff Kingsbury, and Kyler Murray can determine whether he's the right fit. That includes system and culture.
Sure, by most accounts Hopkins isn't the diva Bill O'Brien made him out to be, and Bidwill even praised him as a "terrific teammate" today.
But the Cardinals need to be convinced, given their precarious situation. Kingsbury's a laid-back player's coach, Murray's just 22-years old, and there's only a tiny ember remaining of the culture Bruce Arians behind in 2017. As Kingsbury tries to turn that ember into his own fire behind his players, it's crucial that the right conditions are in place.
We assume Hopkins won't put a damper on that, but if you can afford to be sure, you should be.
Hopkins had problems with Bill O'Brien, and it led to O'Brien shipping him out of town for, in essence, a 2nd-round pick. O'Brien may not get the last laugh, but he may get a chuckle out of this: Hopkins' price tag alone - and the fact that the Cardinals could exceed it next year by flipping the would-be 28-year-old to another team - is low enough for the Cardinals to continue O'Brien's trend of not giving Hopkins what he thinks he deserves. For this season, at least.