Why the DeAndre Hopkins deal works


Arizona Cardinals Training Camp

Arizona Cardinals Training Camp

Today, Steve Keim eliminated resentment, and kept his shirt, all at once.

The Cardinals have extended DeAndre Hopkins, adding $54.5 million in new money, $42.75 million of which is fully guaranteed. That sounds monstrous, and the somewhat disingenuous "$27.25 million-per-year" hysteria adds to the buzz, but really Hopkins just became the 4th-highest-paid receiver in the NFL, as opposed to the 9th. Hopkins will average just around $19 million per year when it's all said and done, and his contract will end when he is 32. The risk of Hopkins slipping out of his prime during this deal is minimal. For context, Julio Jones was 2nd in receiving yards last year at 31-years-old, and Larry Fitzgerald made three Pro Bowls at 32, 33 and 34-years-old.

As for the real $27.25 million-per-year? Hopkins will earn that figure annually, but only in 2023 and 2024. In those years, if the NFL cap continues to soar at its current rate at about $10 million-per-year, Hopkins will be making 12% and 11% of the Cardinals' salary cap. Currently, Amari Cooper and Julio Jones make 10% and 11% of their respective team's caps.

What I really love about this deal is that Steve Keim maintained morale. The worst feeling as an employee, or partner in any relationship, is entering into an agreement, only for your employer or partner to ask you to completely change your values, or traits. Like dating a slob for four years, and then expecting them to have the dishes done just because you put a ring on it. It doesn't work that way, Bub. Keim knew what Hopkins was about when he traded for him. Hopkins doesn't like to practice much, and he wanted a new contract. Those things should've been clear even if Keim had just taken a cursory glance at media reports coming out of Houston. So far, neither of those things have been an issue. In an interview last week, Keim said Hopkins's lack of practice appearances was a non-story and just rewarded him with the new money he'd been seeking in Houston. That's good management.

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