Former NFL player on DeAndre Hopkins: “Bring him to Chicago, please!”

The NFL world saw a new top-tier free agent skill player hit free agency in DeAndre Hopkins on Friday. The Arizona Cardinals released the veteran wide receiver after failing to find a trade destination for him.

What would happen if Ryan Poles and the Bears brought him to Chicago?

“Bring him to Chicago, please,” former NFL player Clay Harbor told NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock on Football Night in Chicago. “I’d love to have DeAndre Hopkins here. This guy still has juice. After he came back from suspension last year, he’s a legit No. 1 receiver.”

The 30-year-old Hopkins is still in his prime and arguably one of the best pass catchers in the league.

Known for his incredible hands and routing, Hopkins has posted an astronomical 69 percent reception rate over the past five seasons of his career. He has caught more than 11,000 yards in his career, exceeding the 1,000-yard mark in a single season in six of his 10 NFL seasons.

He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Houston Texans, going through a quarterback carousel before having Deshaun Watson at his disposal for four seasons. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson in arguably one of the least profitable trades in NFL history.

However, he continued his dominating form of catching passes in Arizona before deciding he wants a change in his career. Should the Bears enter the draft?

“That would put our receiving core, in my opinion, in the top five in the league,” Harbor said. “If you do some defensive line work, plus bring in DeAndre Hopkins, I think you could have the favorite in the NFC North. I’m all for it. I understand why they wouldn’t. You want to build with this young team.”

The Bears made their appearance on the pass-catch market when they traded DJ Moore in March. They included the No. 1 pick for a package of several future draft picks and the catcher. Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool form a respectable core. Certainly not one of the best in the NFC, but enough for this stage of the Bears’ rebuild.

Schrock addressed the issue in his column for NBC Sports Chicago, bringing up the fact that Hopkins wants to play for a contender, given his age on the wrong side of 30. And while the Bears could offer Hopkins a hefty contract with their excess space under the salary cap, he probably won’t bite, and the move risks fading before the Bears can compete in the playoffs.

FURTHER: Hopkins unlikely to join Fields, Bears for several key reasons

It’s always fun to think about the possibilities. A Hopkins-Moore duo would not only be a tempting threat, but would also accelerate Justin Fields’ development in the passing game. Perhaps they could even speed up the rebuilding process.

But you can’t force it. There are more reasons not to take that chance than to pull the trigger now. And he’s unlikely to be interested in the Bears anyway. He named the five quarterbacks he hopes to catch passes from on an episode of the “I am Athlete” podcast, and Fields isn’t listed.

However, if Hopkins were brought to Chicago, it would be a crazy time for Bears fans.

“I think the NFC North is very open, if you bring in DeAndre Hopkins, I think he can fit in here,” Harbor said. “And I think I wouldn’t be opposed to hitting. I don’t think it’s going to happen. But if for some reason, somehow, Ryan Poles decides to bring DeAndre Hopkins here to Chicago, I would be 100 percent okay with it.” .”

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