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The Buffalo Bills’ pursuit of free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins might be over for good.
The Athletic’s Tim Graham reported Thursday the Bills “simply don’t have enough salary-cap room to accommodate Hopkins’ terms” on his next contract based on input from three NFL executives.
Graham also echoed previous reporting from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler about the five-time Pro Bowler seeking a deal similar to Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-year, $15 million contract from the Baltimore Ravens.
On the I Am Athlete podcast in May (via Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ official site), Hopkins outlined what he’d like from the team he’s playing on. Buffalo checked all of the boxes:
“What I want is stable management upstairs, that’s something I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career coming from Houston and then to Arizona. A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him, not just himself but everybody around him … and a great defense. A great defense wins championships.”
Graham noted, however, “one of the league executives, who has communicated with Hopkins’ camp, said his preferred passer won’t supersede his preferred payout.”
Both now and when he was under contract with the Cardinals, the finances have been difficult to reconcile.
Over the Cap puts the Bills’ cap space at $1.4 million. Even with some contract restructures and other cost-savings maneuvers, it’s tough to see where general manager Brandon Beane can find the money to come close to Hopkins’ reported valuation.
On Tuesday, The MMQB’s Albert Breer reported the Bills were one of two teams, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, that received formal permission to discuss a trade with Hopkins. Buffalo was “willing to do a pay-for-play sort of deal loaded with incentives.”
The absence of an agreement with Arizona or one with Hopkins directly after he hit free agency seems to speak for itself.
Signing the 30-year-old makes sense for the right price. He averaged 79.7 yards per game in his nine appearances in 2022.
When the Bills already have Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis on the roster, you can understand Beane’s hesitancy to move heaven and earth to make a partnership happen.