The Carolina Panthers must do everything in their power to sign All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins following his shock release by the Arizona Cardinals.
It's been a frantic period of recruitment for the Carolina Panthers this offseason. Once their trade for the No. 1 overall selection became official, it was vital those in power spent their resources on putting everything around their new rookie quarterback in order to thrive.
Bryce Young was the guy and he's made a strong start to the preparation period with the spotlight glaring. The Panthers had to include stud wide receiver D.J. Moore in their package that sealed the deal, but Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and second-rounder Jonathan Mingo could offset this loss if everything goes well.
There is also hope Terrace Marshall Jr. can evolve into a true No. 1 option in Year 3. Laviska Shenault Jr. has been getting a lot of first-team reps at OTAs and boasts unique skills that could be of use within Frank Reich and Thomas Brown's scheme.
Despite having plenty of options, it's not considered the strongest group of pass-catchers. That could change if the aforementioned young stars step up, but the jury is still out when one factors everything into the equation.
Carolina Panthers should pursue DeAndre Hopkins after release
This is something not going unnoticed by media outlets and sportsbooks when it comes to the future of DeAndre Hopkins. The All-Pro wideout was released by the Arizona Cardinals in a shocking move on Friday, which should put more than a few teams on red alert around the league.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently named the Panthers as a potential landing spot for Hopkins via trade. Carolina was also at the top of betting markets regarding a trade, which represents a homecoming of sorts for the South Carolina native and former Clemson star.
Now that the contract and compensation are no longer complicating matters, general manager Scott Fittere - famous for being in on every deal - should put in a call. There is no harm in that whatsoever.
While the benefits of acquiring Hopkins are obvious - especially considering how much he'd help someone looking to make their way at football's most prestigious position - if the Panthers had any legitimate interest in bringing him into the fold, it would have already been rubber-stamped.
However, there's a chance Fitterer might have been waiting for this exact moment. But he won;t be alone in that regard, one suspects.
Fitterer has been immensely aggressive in his approach with the final say on personnel moves for the first time. The front office figure has been keen to remove Matt Rhule's stench from his own reputation, so getting Hopkins into the building would be another major statement of intent.
It would be a surprise if Hopkins came to Carolina. He might be connected to the area, but the All-Pro probably wants a shot of winning a Super Bowl before hanging up his cleats.
Something the Panthers probably can't provide. Not next season, in any case.
The Panthers appear happy with what they have currently. Although they do have the financial resources to make another move if things don't start well or injury strikes.
Even in this scenario, Hopkins seems an unlikely target. But if this offseason has taught us anything, it's to rule absolutely nothing out where the new Panthers' regime is concerned.