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Cardinals Wide Receiver and Tight End Outlook: WR trio and TE duo looks set

DeAndre Hopkins’ future with Arizona in question

NFL: DEC 18 Cardinals at Broncos Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was only three years ago when the Cardinals fleeced All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans in exchange for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. Former Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim even had the audacity to ask for a fourth-round pick to go along with Hopkins and still managed to get it.

Those are the type of ground-breaking news that NFL fans are anxiously waiting for.

Three years later, the Cardinals fired Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury in what looks to be a reset for the organization. Hopkins turns 31 in June and the rumor over the last few months is he was being shopped by the team and he would like to get traded to a contender.

Per ESPN’s Senior Reporter Jeremy Fowler, the Cardinals are seeking a “premium day 2 pick and a player” in exchange for Hopkins.

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Though I am sure Cardinals organization and their fans would love for Hopkins to remain in Arizona, it seems that a trade is all but inevitable since they are due for a rebuild.

It would not be surprising at all for trade conversations to ramp up during the legal tampering period starting today at noon eastern standard time.

All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey was traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for tight end Hunter Long and a third-round pick. People are probably using this trade as an example of what Arizona could receive for trading Hopkins. The biggest difference here is the cornerback market in the draft and free agency is incredibly stronger than it is at wide receiver. And the remaining two years of Ramsey’s contract is fully guaranteed, averaging $20 million per season. There is no guaranteed money in Hopkins’ remaining two years of his contract.

A weaker wide receiver market should mean a higher demand for DeAndre Hopkins on a contending team.

Until then, Hopkins is a Cardinal for now.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Let’s say he does get traded, the Cardinals’ top wide receiver trio include Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Rondale Moore, and the recently re-signed Greg Dortch. All three have proven to be productive assets on the roster when healthy.

Brown led the team in targets (107) last season and finished first in catches (67), second in receiving yards (709), and tied for second in touchdowns (3). He figures to be the No. 1 wide receiver if Arizona moves on from Hopkins. Brown missed four games due to a foot injury.

2021 second-round pick Rondale Moore has struggled to stay healthy, missing nine out of 17 games last season. He finished the season with 41 catches, 414 receiving yards, and one touchdown. He was targeted a whopping 56 times in only seven games last season. Moore is a dangerous weapon on the football field if he gets his health in check.

Greg Dortch validated all the offseason hype that was directed his way as he was a standout during practices, training camp, and the preseason. Despite being mishandled on the team almost the entirety of 2022, he still had the best season of his career with the third-most catches (52), receiving yards (467), and tied for fourth in touchdowns (2) on the team. All were career highs for Dortch. He was arguably the best Cardinals’ wide receiver last season. He lived up to his nickname as “Dortch the Torch”.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As for the other wide receivers on the Cardinals roster, A.J. Green retired, Antoine Wesley is an impending restricted free agent, and Pharoh Cooper will be an unrestricted free agent. Andre Baccellia was rotating from the active roster and the practice squad all season long but remains under contract.

Javon Wims and former Bengals’ seventh-round pick Auden Tate signed a reserve/futures deal with Arizona in January.

The wide receiver class is headlined by USC’s Jordan Addison, TCU’s Quentin Johnston, and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Later-round intriguing talents include Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, Ole Miss’ Jonathan Mingo, Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry, Stanford’s Michael Wilson

Some of the notable free agent-to-be wide receivers are Parris Campbell, D.J. Chark, Mecole Hardman, Marquise Goodwin, Jalen Guyton, Jarvis Landry, Jakobi Meyers, Darius Slayton, J.J. Smith-Schuster, and Adam Thielen. None of which, in my opinion, should command money similar to that of Hopkins or Tyreek Hill.

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The tight end position seems to be in a very interesting spot with 2022 second-round pick Trey McBride set to build on his rookie season when he made 13 starts and had 265 catches primarily in a blocking role. Zach Ertz will be the primary pass catcher at the position but he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in early December. Cardinals signed Noah Togiai a few weeks ago having played previously for the Colts and Eagles when Jonathan Gannon was on their staffs.

Chris Pierce and International Player Pathway tight end Bernhard Seikovits signed reserve/futures deal with the Cardinals.

Maxx Williams and Stephen Anderson are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Adding familiar faces for Drew Petzing such as former Browns’ tight ends Austin Hooper, Pharaoh Brown, and Jesse James makes sense. A late-round tight end draft selection is in the cards as well.

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