Tuesday's NFL: Cardinals' Hopkins, Browns' Hunt sign extensions
Tempe, Ariz. — DeAndre Hopkins is one of the NFL’s best players. Someday, he’d like to run one of the game’s best organizations.
So during the past few weeks, the 28-year-old receiver has spent lots of late nights studying the terminology of contracts and the art of negotiation. Considering he wants to be responsible for making bold front-office deals in the future, he might as well start with his own.
Hopkins and the Cardinals agreed to a two-year contract extension on Tuesday that will keep the three-time All-Pro in Arizona through the 2024 season. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the NFL Network reported that the extension is worth $54.5 million over two years. The receiver is guaranteed $42.75 million.
Hopkins said he worked on about 90% of the deal and had some help from advisers. Cardinals GM Steve Keim said “it was a great process” and he got to know the receiver even better during negotiations.
“Throughout the process, everything was positive with the organization,” Hopkins said. “I’ve learned a lot, not just on the field, but off the field.”
His new deal has a no-trade clause and no-franchise tag clause.
Arizona hopes Hopkins will be one of the cornerstones of an offense that includes second-year quarterback Kyler Murray, running back Kenyan Drake and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. The Cardinals open the season on Sunday with a road game against the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
The Cardinals landed the 6-foot-1, 212-pound receiver in a surprising trade with the Texans during the offseason, sending veteran running back David Johnson to Houston. He’s been one of the NFL’s most consistent and productive pass catchers in recent years, with at least 1,100 yards receiving in five of the past six seasons.
Hopkins has seemed rejuvenated by the mid-career move and is hopeful the Cardinals can become a playoff contender after finishing with a 5-10-1 record in 2019. He has been impressed by Murray, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2019.
“Kyler has an arm,” Hopkins said earlier in the preseason. “I’m thankful to play with a quarterback like that who can make any throw anywhere on the field and has the confidence to do it. Just from what I’ve seen, we’re going to have a good time playing together.”
Hopkins still had three years remaining on a five-year, $81 million deal he signed in 2017, but Keim made it known that the team was trying to work on an extension after the trade. The GM said the only other player he’s negotiated with directly during his eight years in Arizona is Fitzgerald.
“It was our goal all along to get (Hopkins) extended,” Keim said. “So today’s signing is extremely exciting for us. It’s probably one of the most unique negotiations that I’ve been through.”
Hopkins had 104 catches for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He was the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft after playing college ball at Clemson.
Second-year coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hopkins has been a great teammate since arriving in the desert.
“It’s been fantastic,” Kingsbury said in August. “That rubs off on other players when you have a guy like that who has done what he’s done, focused and locked in. It’s been great.”
Hopkins has plenty of respect for Kingsbury’s offensive mind. The receiver said he doesn’t watch much football besides studying game film but was so intrigued by the Cardinals that he turned on a game last season to see what the offense looked like.
It didn’t take long to come away impressed.
“I was like, man, if I could be in this offense, a pass-first offense one day, the sky’s the limit,” Hopkins said. “I guess I spoke that into existence.”
Hopkins is the only active NFL player to have at least 100 catches, 1,500 yards receiving and 11 touchdown catches in multiple seasons, which happened in 2015 and 2018. The only three former players to do it are Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Brandon Marshall.
Miller reportedly injures ankle
A person with knowledge of the situation told AP the Denver Broncos fear star linebacker Von Miller suffered a season-ending ankle injury toward the end of practice.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t addressed Miller’s injury, said the team was awaiting results of an MRI on Miller.
The practice took place indoors because of a snowstorm that struck the Rocky Mountains after a series of upper-90s and 100-degree days.
Browns give Hunt extension
Suspended last season by the NFL for two physical off-field altercations, Kareem Hunt signed a two-year, $13.25 million contract extension with the Browns, who took a chance on the running back and are now committing to him long term.
Hunt, who served his eight-game suspension after joining Cleveland as a free agent following his release from Kansas City, signed the deal Tuesday. It includes $8.5 million guaranteed.
Hunt grew up in the Cleveland area and conveyed his appreciation in getting the extension with an Instagram posting.
“Cleveland has always been home to me, and putting on the Orange & Brown has been THE dream growing up,” Hunt wrote. “Being able to make it official, and play my heart out for the city I love for the next few years is a blessing.”
Hunt will start the 2020 season as Cleveland’s No. 2 running back behind Pro Bowler Nick Chubb. But the Browns are expected to use the 25-year-old Hunt in a variety of ways because of his pass-catching ability and could play him at wide receiver.
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