Well New England Patriots fans, DeAndre Hopkins has left the building without a contract. Now what?
I guess the wait is on and until Hopkins signs with the Patriots or some other team, the speculation, the rumors, and the intrigue will continue.
While visiting the team this past week, there were a lot of positive vibes coming out of Foxborough, including from Hopkins himself.
In fact, things seemed so positive that fans refreshing at a constant pace on Twitter thought a contract was imminent, especially after this Instagram post from Hopkins showing him in the Patriots’ locker room with the ultimate team recruiter and NFL sack master Matthew Judon.
New England Patriots optimistic following DeAndre Hopkins visit
All indications were that the visit went well as signified by the Instagram post with “La Familia” written on it. In the new world of social media, Patriots fans and even the Felger & Mazz crew over at 98.5 The Sports Hub had Hopkins signed, sealed, and delivered. But that wasn’t the case, at least not yet.
So, what is the hold up?
Besides Hopkins attempting to get every possible cent out of Bill Belichick, the team apparently have some reservations about the 31-year-old wide receiver fitting into the team’s culture. Will he practice? Will he check out if things aren’t going well? Will he dog it if he is not getting the ball enough?
"“I think (the Instagram post is) a positive development,” NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom Curran said during an appearance on “Jones & Mego” this past week. “What I hear is, I think people in the building are still wary, to an extent, of the culture fit. How much does he want to practice? What kind of hoops are the Patriots themselves gonna have to jump through to accommodate the way he likes to approach the game?”"
This is a team and a coach in Belichick who brought in players like Randy Moss, Antonio Brown and Chad Johnson. A coach who even gave Albert Haynesworth a try. The Patriots also have a leg up on the Tennessee Titans, a team he is rumored to be holding as leverage for a deal, in that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has dealt with Hopkins.
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With that, the Patriots won’t bend over backwards to get Hopkins to ink a deal. In fact, the veteran wide receiver is going to have to show he won’t impact the culture and that he will be a rejuvenated player in 2023.
Maybe that is where he will be wary of joining a team like the New England Patriots. If he signed, the team would finally have that elusive No. 1 receiver. Not only should he make Mac Jones better, but suddenly the playmakers around him get that much better.
But what if Hopkins doesn’t live up to those expectations?
As much as he still wants to be the GUY and with the contract he is expecting. If he comes in and looks more like “Ochocinco” and less like Randy Moss, he will be the scapegoat if the offense is still not great again in 2023.
With that said, the New England Patriots and DeAndre Hopkins seem up for the challenge of making it work out.