NFL rumors: Patriots screwed themselves with DeAndre Hopkins pursuit

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots’ cautious approach in pursuing DeAndre Hopkins cost them dearly.

Had the New England Patriots been more aggressive, they could have landed DeAndre Hopkins.

The former Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver just joined his third NFL franchise by signing with the Tennessee Titans recently. He has familiarity with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel from their days in Houston. However, Tennessee feels like a franchise on a downward trajectory in terms of its competitive life cycle, whereas the Patriots could be better this season.

Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots’ timid approach towards courting Hopkins is what cost them.

"“My biggest takeaway from receiver DeAndre Hopkins agreeing to join the Titans instead of the Patriots is that the “what ifs” were the deciding factor for both sides. For Hopkins, too much of the Patriots’ offer was tied to incentives. And for the Patriots, the “what if” of how Hopkins would fit into their program — and what it would look like if those incentives weren’t close to being reached — contributed to their more cautious approach.”"

I understand why the conservative Patriots were so cautious in their pursuit of Hopkins, but then again, he did play his greatest football as a professional for New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in Houston. To me, I always thought that was going to be the deciding issue on getting Hopkins to go to New England, but I guess not… Either way, Hopkins now plays for the Titans…

What does missing out on the Hopkins sweepstakes mean for the Patriots going forward now?

The New England Patriots’ timidity is what cost them landing DeAndre Hopkins

I think the thing for me is like, the Patriots were so close to signing Hopkins and didn’t get it done. Their offer being largely based on “what ifs” and incentives was clearly not as compelling as what the Tennessee brass put forward. To me, do the Patriots even want to try to win the AFC East this season? The Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets all seem to want to do that. Come on!

Although Tennessee is a place where veteran wide receivers go to die, even a downward-trending Titans team is still probably better than the rebuilding operations in Houston and in Indianapolis. Yes, the Titans should be looking up at the rival Jacksonville Jaguars in division, but they are a game here or there from getting back into the wild card mix in the deeper of the two conferences.

As far as the Patriots are concerned, they blew it. This is not a team where wide receivers outside of the slot historically thrive, unless their name is Randy Moss. While there might be a limited ceiling towards what they could do offensively with their personnel, they did pry O’Brien away from Alabama. He probably wanted to go back to the NFL, and to New England, but this is so bad.

Hopkins going to the Titans makes Tennessee by the same amount it makes the Patriots worse.

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