Cardinals set money on fire with DeAndre Hopkins release

After failing to find a trade, the Arizona Cardinals opted to release star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and are burning a bunch of money in the process.

The Arizona Cardinals have a new regime in charge with general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon. One of their first big decisions was to figure out what they were going to do with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Reports indicated that the team was interested in trading him, but had a high asking price. But as the days and months passed, a deal appeared to be less and less likely. As it turns out, that assessment was correct.

On Friday, the Cardinals announced that they were releasing Hopkins from his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. If you thought the team would be using a post-June 1 designation on him, that isn’t the case.

According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Cardinals did not use a post-June 1 designation on Hopkins, meaning that they will be taking on a full $22.6 million dead cap hit for this season.

Cardinals release DeAndre Hopkins and take on a ton of dead money

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero also clarified the Cardinals’ financial situation after Hopkins’ release. While the team will take on $22.6 million in dead money, they are freeing up approximately $7.39 million in cap space this season. Not to mention that Hopkins will be off the books in 2024.

Pelissero continued in a separate tweet, saying that Arizona is no longer on the hook for $19.45 million in cash for this season, as Hopkins’ had no guaranteed money left on his contract.

With this move, the Cardinals are now without their top wide receiver, even though he only played in 19 games the past two seasons. Arizona still has the Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rondale Moore at the top of its depth chart. But, the team’s success will hinge on quarterback Kyler Murray, who is working his way back from a torn ACL suffered in Week 14 this past season.

Safe to say, there are not a lot of high hopes for the Cardinals in the 2023 season, with many projecting them to be the favorites to clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That would put the Cardinals in an interesting situation, as the top prospects in that class are quarterbacks Caleb Williams out of USC and Drake Maye out of North Carolina.

Can the Cardinals surprise the world in 2023? Or will the tank truly be on?

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