The Jacksonville Jaguars weren't a realistic landing spot for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after getting released by the Arizona Cardinals but they surely hoped he wouldn't land with a team on their 2023 schedule. Based on recent news, the Jags could potentially face him not once but twice next season.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Hopkins is meeting with the Tennessee Titans, his first visit since becoming a free agent. More specifically, he's set to meet with the Jaguars' division foes Sunday.
A first-round pick in 2013, DeAndre Hopkins spent his first seven NFL seasons before landing with the Cards in 2020. If he chooses to sign with the Titans, he would return to the AFC South and face off against Jacksonville twice a year for as long as he remains in Tennessee.
Hopkins has appeared in 145 games and has played the Jags 15 times in his career. In those games, he's caught 82 catches for 951 yards with six touchdowns. Even though he's not made the Pro Bowl or gotten an All-Pro designation since 2019, the former Clemson Tiger still has lots of football left on him and could give the Titans receiver corps a huge boost.
The Jaguars would have to contain DeAndre Hopkins twice a year if he joins the Titans
It's true that Hopkins wasn't great during his year stint in the desert but many factors played a role in his decreased production. For starters, the Cards were a mess and had no direction under former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. On top of that, DHop missed time due to injuries and a suspension for violations to the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Had he been available and the Cardinals had more stability, he might have put up better numbers.
Hopkins is surely looking for a team where he can regain his place as one of the top receivers in the league and the Titans offer an enticing opportunity. Sophomore Treylon Burks notwithstanding, they don't have any viable options in the passing game. With Hopkins in the fold, Tennessee's wide receiver corps could go from below-average to good.
Now, it's not a given that Hopkins will sign with the Titans. He's just making a visit and he will surely want to meet other teams before making a decision. Then again, head coach Mike Vrabel knows the veteran receiver from his playing days in Houston and that could end up being the deciding factor in choosing which team to join.
Hopkins would give Tennessee the bonafide No. 1 receiver they've been sorely missing since they traded A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles last year. And if he joins the Jaguars' division foes, things their matchups next year will immediately become intriguing.