The fact DeAndre Hopkins is has reached this point in his career without receiving a lucrative long-term contract may be down to a number of reasons, but the Texans wide receiver is ready to ensure he is paid his worth when he does put pen to paper on a new deal. Having proven himself to be one of the most consistent men in his position in the league over the past couple of seasons, despite playing in an extremely average Houston team, Hopkins is entering the final 12 months of the four-year contract he signed when selected in the first round of the 2013 draft.
The 24-year old has answered a lot of questions since arriving in the NFL, not least his ability to play with any type of quarterback, catching touchdowns from four different Texans signal callers in 2015. Despite being forced to play with a group of modest quarterbacks last season, Hopkins still managed to finish third in the league for receptions with 111, as well as receiving yards after racking up 1,521. Catching the eye for not only his remarkable athleticism but also his very solid ball skills, the prospect of him linking up with Brock Osweiler is an exciting one for Houston fans.
While it’s been a disappointing few seasons for the Texans, there are plenty who feel Houston could be a much stronger outfit in 2016, with the franchise currently priced at around 11/5 with the latest NFL odds to top the AFC South. Much of that could depend on Hopkins though, and it might be in the interest of the Texans if they start talks sooner rather than later. With his rookie deal coming to an end, the receiver is in-line to earn a top-tier deal for players in his position, with Cincinnati wide man A.J. Green’s $15 million-a-season contract a potential marker for Hopkins and Houston.
That figure could significantly increase should Hopkins have another sensational season without a deal having been signed, and Falcons receiver Julio Jones’ $35.5 million contract might not be a ridiculous example for the Houston man to aim for. While the Texans exercised their fifth-year option on Hopkins, meaning this may not necessarily be the receiver’s last year on his rookie deal, the thought of getting into a bidding war with other NFL teams in 12 months won’t be an appealing option for the franchise.
The Texans have made it clear they are determined to take that next step as an organisation by bringing in Osweiler from Denver despite the quarterback being tipped to be the man to take over from Peyton Manning. Providing the signal caller with the tools he needs to guide the franchise to a Super Bowl will be the next task, and that will need to start with ensuring Hopkins is a major part of those plans. From there, the Texans would be able to build around two young and extremely talented players, and getting the wide receiver to the table for contract talks needs to be right up there in terms of priority for the franchise.