How realistic is DeAndre Hopkins trade for the Carolina Panthers?

DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

How realistic is a potential trade for DeAndre Hopkins where the Carolina Panthers are concerned before the 2023 season?

The Carolina Panthers managed to get their hands on the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. It obviously came at a cost, which included multiple picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore for good measure. 

Based on reports and what the Chicago Bears reportedly wanted from the Las Vegas Raiders, Moore was the key factor to get this over the line. The trade doesn't happen without his inclusion and although the former first-round selection was hurt, this is the cost of doing business at the end of the day. 

If the Panthers land their franchise quarterback to spearhead them for the next decade, nobody will be complaining about the compensation. That is for the future and we won't know for a couple of years at least. 

For now, the Panthers are desperately short of wide receiver options. Terrace Marshall Jr., Shi Smith, and Laviska Shenault Jr. form their starting trio currently, which isn't going to be enough for their rookie signal-caller to thrive right out of the gate. 

Could the Carolina Panthers trade for DeAndre Hopkins?

This is something recognized by the front office. Carolina has hosted Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark over the last week, but neither wideout left with a deal for one reason or another. 

It could be money. It could be playing with a first-year pro rather than a proven performer. It could be a mixture of both. 

Either way, urgency is increasing with every passing day. Something that could lead general manager Scott Fitterer into another aggressive move in pursuit of finding a viable solution. 

More specifically, exploring a potential trade to bring DeAndre Hopkins to the Panthers. 

On the face of things, the idea is tantalizing. Hopkins is reportedly on the trade block and has close connections to the Carolinas, so this could be a match made in heaven if the Panthers pulled it off. 

Just how realistic a move like this ends up being is highly debatable. The Arizona Cardinals are expected to ask for a second-round pick and more for Hopkins, who remains one of the league's primary difference-makers at the position despite missing multiple games in 2022 through suspension. 

This would be another landmark move from the Panthers. However, sacrificing the No. 39 overall selection and other assets is something that could prove too rich when push comes to shove.

Then, there is the financial aspect to contemplate. Hopkins is due over $19 million in 2023 and would likely seek a bumper extension on his new squad, which is another stumbling block despite the increased cap flexibility Carolina has in 2024 and beyond. 

Hopkins instantly solves a major need. It would also further legitimize what Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich are trying to mold throughout what's been an immense offseason of change so far. 

It's a nice thought with obvious benefits. But in reality, it's not all that feasible unless something drastic happens beforehand. 

Adding through free agency and perhaps relatively early in the 2023 NFL Draft is a more cost-effective way to go. Even if it wouldn't necessarily bring Hopkins-caliber production next season. 

With the Panthers, nothing can be ruled out. Especially with Fitterer's willingness to take risks in pursuit of progression.

Just don't get your hopes up.

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