DeAndre Hopkins is out six games but its really what happens in those final 11 that matter most.
Hopkins, like Patrick Peterson before him, facing a critical moment in his career. He’s spent nearly a decade as one of the best at his position before being caught taking an anabolic steroid. Peterson, the former Cardinals star cornerback, was never the same player after his positive test and has become just another cornerback. Hopkins has to prove he won’t be the same.
After the 2022 season, the Arizona Cardinals will either have to swallow a $30 million plus cap hit by keeping DeAndre Hopkins or take a $22 million dollar cap hit in dead money by releasing him.
So what should we expect from Hopkins? I don’t expect much.
Even if Hopkins is 100% telling the truth and this was all one big innocent mistake, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s 30 and facing the same decline in production that other previously great WR’s like Julio Jones, teammate AJ Green, Andre Johnson and others have experienced.
I’m personally not willing to give Hopkins the benefit of the doubt that this was a big mix up. If we believed every athlete who said they just accidentally took something without knowing what was in it, there would be very few actual cheaters in sports.
Most athletes that get caught can’t admit they cheated because if they admit that, they have to admit they are no longer good enough. If you admit that, you’re on borrowed time in any sport.
Most of the time an athlete testing positive for a banned substance later in their career isn’t the beginning of a redemption story, it's the beginning of the end.
Hopefully that’s not true with Hopkins but if recent history is any indication, it probably is.
11 games might be all the Cardinals have left with DeAndre Hopkins.