It’s time for the Houston Texans to give DeAndre Hopkins the big contract he deserves.
111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Those are DeAndre Hopkins’ statistics in 2015, his second straight season with over 1,200 yards. Hopkins is scheduled to make just over $2 million dollars in 2016.
Yes, that means that Brian Hoyer will make twice as much money as Hopkins, and fellow pass catcher Garrett Graham and Cecil Shorts III will both make roughly $1 million more than Hopkins. Graham and Shorts combined for just 514 yards (one-third of Hopkins’ total) and yet will combine to cost Houston three times what Hopkins will in 2016. Something doesn’t seem right.
The issue of teams not paying players until the last minute is a prevalent one across the league, and has lead to things such as Dez Bryant‘s holdout through offseason camp last year. Had Bryant been with the team all offseason, he may have been in better shape and avoided injury, and been more effective this year for the Dallas Cowboys. Houston can’t make the same mistake with Hopkins.
In his first season to not play alongside Andre Johnson, Hopkins emerged as the elite receiver we all knew he could be. He was third in the NFL in targets, receptions, and yardage, behind only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Also, Hopkins managed this while playing with a revolving door at quarterback, catching passes from four different guys.
He was forced to do the same thing last season, and yet still came through with over 1,200 yards and 6 touchdowns. Houston fans have to hope the quarterback situation is sorted out soon, but if it isn’t then the team can absolutely not afford to lose Hopkins. With Arian Foster‘s future up in the air, Hopkins is unquestionably the team’s best offensive weapon, and they need him focused on his play on the field, not on his contract.
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Sure DeAndre still has another year on his contract, but the earlier the negotiation begins the quicker it will be over. Houston isn’t necessarily in connection for a Super Bowl next season, but they’d hope to be soon, and it would be better to pay Hopkins now and fill in the rest later than have to find the money to pay him after filling holes with expensive free agents this year.
Hopkins recently changed agents (via Scout.com) which shows us that he’s probably gearing up for a contract negotiation in the next year, but if I’m Houston I’m paying him and I’m doing it now. Last offseason we saw the market for elite receivers, and I expect Hopkins to sign a contract somewhere in the range of the 5-year $70 million deal that the likes of Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas got last year.
Instead of waiting for the potential holdout however, Houston should do this now. After locking up J.J. Watt long-term last season, they now need to do that with their best offensive player as well. Houston looked like an FCS team this year in the playoffs, and they’re going to need to ensure their future by cementing Hopkins’ name in the roster.
We’ve seen plenty of players become distracted or refuse to play because of contract disputes, and Houston can’t afford that at this point in their building process. Now is the time to hold onto their strong pieces, and fill in the gaps around them.
After signing Rahim Moore to a $12 million contract last season before benching him halfway through the year, Houston needs to get better about knowing how to spend their money. Spend it on Hopkins, and continue to develop the young players that you’ve got instead of pursuing overpriced free agents. The Texans are right on the brink of being a contender, and locking up Hopkins would give them more certainty into the future.
Pay the man.