Carolina Panthers must act fast amid ongoing DeAndre Hopkins rumors

DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins / Michael Chow / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Carolina Panthers are reportedly still mulling over the possibility of signing DeAndre Hopkins, but time is of the essence heading into training camp.

DeAndre Hopkins is currently exploring his options after getting released by the Arizona Cardinals. And the Carolina Panthers could yet throw their hat into the ring.

The wide receiver remains one of the league's most dangerous weapons, but injuries are starting to take their toll. Considering where his previous employers are heading, taking a big financial hit in 2022 and allowing Hopkins a chance elsewhere represented the best course of action after failing to find a trade partner.

Hopkins has taken meetings with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans without a contract emerging as yet. But according to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN during a radio appearance, the Panthers are still lurking for a potential swoop despite no legitimate interest coming from the team to date.

Carolina Panthers rumors on DeAndre Hopkins met with skepticism

This would provide the Panthers and rookie quarterback Bryce Young with a genuine No. 1 option if he can stay healthy. Hopkins also went to Clemson and hails from the region, so this move would be a popular one across the fanbase.

General manager Scott Fitterer is renowned for being in on every deal. Something that Joe Person of The Athletic pointed out while also stating via Twitter the team's needs at edge rusher and cornerback that could - and probably should - take priority.

"Regarding DeAndre Hopkins … as long as Scott Fitterer's here, Panthers will always monitor FAs who might be a fit. But this team has more pressing needs at Edge and CB."

Joe Person via Twitter

The Panthers seem willing to roll with what they have at the wide receiver position - at least from the outside looking in. Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Jonathan Mingo were acquired to offset the departure of D.J. Moore, with improvements also expected from Terrace Marshall Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. under professional coaching.

Whether Hopkins would consider signing for a team that won't really be in the Super Bowl discussion next season is another push. Money talks above all else more often than not, but the Panthers need to act quickly if this is something they are genuinely contemplating.

In an ideal world, the Panthers would secure Hopkins' services before the time comes to descend on Wofford College in Spartanburg for training camp. This would allow the All-Pro and Young enough time to hone chemistry before suiting up in Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons.

It's a nice thought to have and fans are obviously getting impatient with all this spare cash burning a hole in Fitterer's pocket. But the chances of Hopkins winding up in Carolina appear slim.

There's no doubt Hopkins would be the best wideout on Carolina's roster. But his presence would hinder the development of Marshall and Mingo at an important time for both - which has the scope to jeopardize the Panthers' future at the position.

Nothing can be dismissed - especially where Fitterer is concerned. And considering the market hasn't been robust for Hopkins, he might be more receptive to this move than initially thought.

As always with the Panthers, watch this space. But whether the latest rumors surrounding a daring raid for Hopkins come to fruition or not remains debatable.