HOUSTON (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have added one of the NFL’s top receivers to join an intriguing young team that’s trying to make a move in the NFC West.
The Cardinals acquired three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a trade that will send running back David Johnson and draft picks to the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the trade hasn’t been officially announced. The NFL’s business year begins Wednesday, when the trade can be completed.
The 27-year-old Hopkins gives the Cardinals a premier receiver to add to a promising core on offense, which includes second-year quarterback Kyler Murray, receivers Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald, and potentially running back Kenyan Drake, to whom Arizona gave the transition tag earlier Monday.
The Cardinals finished with a 5-10-1 record last season under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury, who is known for his innovative offense. Murray was the No. 1 overall draft pick and had an encouraging rookie season, finishing with 3,722 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. But the Cardinals occasionally struggled to stretch the field vertically for big plays in the passing game. Hopkins’ arrival should help.
Hopkins has three years remaining on a five-year, $81 million deal he signed in 2017. The 6-foot-1, 212-pound veteran has been one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL over the past seven years, topping 1,000 yards receiving in five of seven seasons. He caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last year.
The 28-year-old Johnson was an All-Pro with the Cardinals in 2016 during his second season but hasn’t been able to match those numbers in the past three years. He battled injuries for much of 2019 and finished with 345 yards rushing and 370 yards receiving.
Johnson has two years remaining on a three-year, $39 million extension he signed in 2018.
VIKINGS EXTEND COUSINS
The Minnesota Vikings and Kirk Cousins agreed on Monday to a two-year, $66 million contract extension, giving the quarterback another eight-figure influx of guaranteed money and providing the team some immediate salary-cap relief.
BENGALS PUT TAG ON GREEN
The Bengals used their franchise tag on A.J. Green on Monday, giving them time to try to work out a long-term deal with the seven-time Pro Bowler who is one of the most accomplished receivers in franchise history and would be a vital asset for breaking in a new quarterback.
FALCONS CUT FREEMAN, TRUFANT
The Atlanta Falcons will dramatically boost their financial flexibility by releasing three high-priced veterans — running back Devonta Freeman, cornerback Desmond Trufant and offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo.
COWBOYS PUT TAG ON PRESCOTT
The Dallas Cowboys have placed their exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott, securing the rights to their star quarterback for an estimated $31.5 million while the sides continue working on a long-term deal.
The Cowboys announced the decision on their website about an hour before the deadline for teams to designate the franchise tag.
By using the tag on Prescott, the Cowboys will work to get a deal with Amari Cooper before the receiver becomes an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts, currently set for Wednesday.
The Cowboys and Prescott have been working on a deal for about a year.
The two-time Pro Bowler was one of the best bargains in the NFL last season with a base salary of $2 million as a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Prescott was the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year when he led the Cowboys on a franchise-record 11-game winning streak that vaulted them to the top seed in the NFC before losing to Green Bay in the divisional round.
Dallas made the playoffs again in 2018 before falling short of high expectations by missing the postseason last year. The Cowboys didn’t renew coach Jason Garrett’s contract after a disappointing season and hired Mike McCarthy.
With the NFL’s offseason likely to be postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Cowboys could have more opportunity to get a long-term deal with Prescott before he misses valuable time working with a mostly new coaching staff.
Prescott has the option of signing the franchise tender and guaranteeing his huge pay increase, but is likely not to sign it to help his leverage in negotiations.
When he was drafted, Prescott was the third-team quarterback behind Tony Romo and Kellen Moore. But preseason injuries to both made Prescott the starter, and Romo never got his job back.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said repeatedly he considers Prescott his franchise quarterback, and it’s just a matter of time before a deal gets completed.
Dallas traded a first-round pick to Oakland for Cooper during the 2018 season. Cooper finished that year strong and was solid in the first half of 2019 before tailing off as the season progressed.