New York-area realtors might want to hold off a little longer before sending property listings to DeAndre Hopkins.
While Jets and Giants fans were quick to react Friday to the possibility of adding the new gem of free agency, the same was happening with dozens of fan bases around the country after the Cardinals surprisingly cut the three-time All-Pro receiver, ate $22.6 million of salary-cap space and leaned into the perception that the consensus worst roster in the NFL is headed nowhere without injured quarterback Kyler Murray.
Trading Hopkins’ contract and his $19.4 million salary in 2023 proved too prohibitive for Arizona.
Now that he’s a free agent, however, let the courtship sweepstakes begin.
The Jets could make a similar offer to what they had earmarked for Odell Beckham Jr. before he cancelled his free-agent visit to sign with the Ravens.
DeAndre Hopkins is now a free agent after being released by the Cardinals. USA TODAY Sports
Receiver isn’t a big need with Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman in the fold, but Hopkins is no worse than No. 2 on that list and could be swapped in for Davis with minimal salary-cap penalty.
The Giants were in the market for a prototypical No. 1 receiver when the offseason started but drained their spending budget to build an offense around pass-catching tight end Darren Waller and the deepest receiving corps fielded in years, with Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Paris Campbell, Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepherd and more.
Their interest in Beckham seemed more like a sentimental reunion than applicable across the position.
So, which other teams will show interest after Hopkins, 30, proved he has plenty left in the tank by making 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns in nine games coming back from an injury-plagued 2021 season and a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in 2022?
Here is The Post’s list after inquiring around the league:
Hopkins recently named Josh Allen as the first quarterback that he would like to join, describing Allen as a “new-school Andrew Luck” on the “I Am Athlete” podcast.
The Bills are in Super Bowl-or-bust talent-assembling mode, and their receiver corps is one short with Stefon Diggs (who sounds frustrated with Allen) and inconsistent Gabe Davis as they move toward two tight-end sets with Dawson Knox and rookie Dalton Kincaid.
DeAndre Hopkins is expected to have plenty of suitors in free agency. Getty Images
If the defending Super Bowl champions have a weakness, it’s at receiver after losing Tyreek Hill, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Hardman over the last two offseasons.
Imagine pairing Hopkins on the outside with tight end Travis Kelce over the middle.
The Chiefs did — and received the Cardinals’ permission to talk with Hopkins before the draft, per Sports Illustrated.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore are more palatable as options No. 3-5.
Is Hopkins going to take a discount to chase a ring?
Or does he want to recoup as much of that $19.4 million as possible?
If money talks, then the Bears have the most salary-cap space ($36.2 million) to offer.
Would Hopkins’ interest be piqued by playing with another annual 1,000-yard receiver (D.J. Moore) and an ascending young quarterback (Justin Fields)?
Time to let bygones be bygones?
DeAndre Hopkins makes a one-handed touchdown pass during a Cardinals-Vikings game on Oct. 30, 2022. Getty Images
Hopkins said he had “no relationship” with Bill O’Brien during the years when he was arguably the best receiver in the NFL and O’Brien was his head coach with the Texans.
It’s funny how bad blood is forgiven when O’Brien — now the Patriots offensive coordinator — needs a receiver better than Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton to salvage quarterback Mac Jones, and Hopkins needs a home where he can get the ball.
Everybody’s preseason darling would look a lot better if Jameson Williams wasn’t suspended for the first six games under the league’s sports gambling policy.
Amon-Ra St. Brown is great in the slot, but the Lions still want to win by outscoring opponents and need another weapon to do it against the best competition.
They have $25.3 million in salary-cap space.
DeAndre Hopkins proved he has plenty left in the tank last season. Getty Images
Beckham and Hopkins?
What an awesome pairing that would’ve been … in 2015.
All jokes aside, even past their primes, it would represent a massive upgrade for a team that relied on Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson last season.
Hopkins recently worked out with Beckham and the Giants’ Saquon Barkley and called the thought of playing with quarterback Lamar Jackson “an honor.”