Hopkins: Trade to Cards ‘wasn’t a big surprise’

  • Covered the Cardinals since 2012
  • Graduate of Indiana University
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America

TEMPE, Ariz. — New Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins was not surprised the Houston Texans traded him in March.

Talking to reporters though a conference call for the first time since his trade to the Cardinals was finalized Wednesday, Hopkins said he heard rumors about potentially being traded as early as the start of the 2019 season.

“It wasn’t a big surprise to me after the year,” Hopkins said. “I was preparing for it.”

Hopkins was in Los Angeles working out with Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones on the morning of March 16 when he started hearing about a potential trade and that the Cardinals could be the destination.

“I was very excited, actually, about it because what Arizona has been building, having a young quarterback, a young team and also having veterans,” Hopkins said.

When Hopkins was traded to Arizona last month, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Hopkins had wanted to restructure his contract in Houston to earn in the range of $18 million to $20 million.

Hopkins is set to earn him $12.5 million in 2020, $13.5 million in 2021 and $13.9 million in 2022 in the last three seasons of his current deal.

However, Hopkins declined to shed any light on potential negotiations or talks, which Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Wednesday had begun with Hopkins’ agent, Todd France.

“That’s between my agent and the organization,” Hopkins said. “DeAndre Hopkins goes out and works out every day to prepare myself to get my team the opportunity to win a championship whenever that’s possible. So, you know, everything behind closed doors, that’s between my agent and the organization.”

When asked if he’ll take part in the Cardinals’ virtual offseason program, Hopkins said that’s between his agent and the team.

“I play football for a living,” Hopkins said. “And I want to do everything I can to catch up with the team when the day comes when I can.”

So far, Hopkins said he’s been talking with Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to go over Arizona’s up-tempo offense. Hopkins isn’t concerned about not being able to pick it up as quickly as he has other schemes, saying communication will be the most important part of his learning curve.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be something that will be a big problem because we’re professional athletes and I’ve been in the NFL for seven years and played in two different offenses,” Hopkins said. “So, you know, I’m familiar with offensive changes. So, I think it would be pretty smooth.”

Hopkins said he sees a lot of similarities between Murray and his former quarterback, Houston’s Deshaun Watson.

“Both of those guys able to get out of situations with their feet, so that’s one of the things an, also, they both keep their head down field and just trying to make their play, not just with their feet,” Hopkins said. “So, a lot of similarities there. Obviously, they can run out the pocket and get away from things but both of those guys, also, have a very strong arm.”

Hopkins said he’s talked with players and friends around the league who have either played in a similar style offense or played for Kingsbury to get their advice on the system.

He’s also watched a lot of Murray.

“I think I watched Kyler’s highlights,” Hopkins said, “more than I’ve watched my own highlights.”

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