HOUSTON — DeAndre Hopkins is a free agent for the first time in his illustrious NFL career, and a reunion with the Houston Texans - who drafted him in 2013 - remains a possibility.
Hopkins spent seven seasons in Houston and posted 1,000 receiving yards in five of them before he was traded to Arizona in 2020.
Now he's available once more, and while the Texans have undergone a significant amount of changes to their wide receiver corps this offseason, now is not the time for a reunion with the veteran wideout - at least not according to the hosts at Locked on Texans, Coty Davis and John Hickman, and guest Brian Barefield.
"I think what you will do is handicap your rookie quarterback because D-Hop in his mind is wide receiver one," Barefield said. "You can never tell him he's not wide receiver one. So if he comes here CJ [Stroud] is going to feel obligated to throw it to him because if he doesn't DeAndre is going to say something."
Houston traded veteran wideout Brandin Cooks earlier this offseason, but they brought in another veteran, Robert Woods, to fill his role while also signing Noah Brown and drafting a pair of wideouts in Tank Dell and Xavier Hutchinson.
While Hopkins would no doubt contribute to this Houston squad, adding a player like this could stunt the development of Houston's younger wide receivers while creating a more difficult team to navigate for Stroud - who is expected to start over Davis Mills in 2023.
Hopkins has been connected to a handful of teams already, including a reunion with old friend Deshaun Watson in Cleveland and a move to New England to join the Patriots. While a return to Houston makes sense on paper, there are plenty of reasons this team may avoid making this move ahead of Stroud's rookie season.