The Texans star receiver did not report to camp today as he seeks a new deal.
DeAndre Hopkins was one of the breakout performers of the 2015 season. The third year pro out of Clemson was third in the NFL in catches with 111, yards with 1521 and scored 11 touchdowns; is the only receiver in NFL history to have 100 yard receiving games with four different quarterbacks in the same season. After his big year, he like many before him, he wants more money.
He was spotted at the facility yesterday, but all he did was clean some personal things out of his locker. It remains to be seen how committed he will be to holding out. He will be fined $40,000 a day each day he is not in camp and if he is still not in camp on the fifth day then he will miss out on a $445,000 roster bonus.
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Hopkins is entering the final year of his rookie deal, but since the Texans picked up the fifth year option on him he is under the team’s control for two more years.
It’s a shame how NFL contracts work. Players can be cut any time and not get the money the owner promised they would give them, but at the same time if the player is unhappy and underpaid, the owners give the “this is the contract you agreed to” line. I’m not saying break out the world’s smallest violin for these NFL players by any means, but the double standard is pretty evident.
As for some reforms, there are a few options. The first is to make contracts fully guaranteed where if the team wanted to get rid of a player they had to pay him the money THEY agreed to pay the player, second have an arbitration system where players can reasonably file for money they should get for high performance and third make contracts almost entirely incentive based. Offer very low base pay and for every hundred yards they get a certain amount of money, same for each touchdown, etc.
With some tweaking like the ones offered above, these holdouts can become a thing of the past.
As far as who has the leverage here, I’d say right now it’s Hopkins. If he was truly committed he could hold out until the regular season and if the offense doesn’t play well without him then the Texans will have to pay him more money. But if the offense does play well, then Hopkins is out of luck. It’s a gamble, but one I would not be surprised if he took.