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Moving On From D-Hop, And What Comes Next

Cards take full cap hit this season; Hollywood up as No. 1

That always seemed somewhat inevitable, although it did feel like the Cardinals would try as hard as they could to make some sort of trade. What is next, now that DeAndre Hopkins was released, is to see exactly who signs him and for what. Does Hop have a market? Of course? But it's nowhere near the $19+ million he had been scheduled to earn this season, because then a team would've been willing to give up something to make sure they had Hop and didn't have to battle with other suitors.

I get the fan frustration of the move. Hop is a good player, and the Cardinals lose him for nothing in return. But after a full offseason and training camp of distractions last season, moving on from Hop -- who would've been a question for mandatory minicamp and would have been a daily storyline at training camp -- was something that seemed inevitable. He had danced around the questions when asked about playing elsewhere in multiple interviews he did the last few months, but he still was wandering out on the dance floor in the first place and it felt pretty clear he preferred to move on.

He had a great first season, he had a great first half of a second season (as did the team) and then got hurt, and then his six-game suspension not only derailed his own third season but was a crushing blow with which the Cardinals had to deal to start 2022. The end of the season, with Hop missing a couple more games, also didn't help. As A.J. Green once famously said, "Hop don't miss games" but then Hop started missing games.

With where this team is now, keeping Hop probably made little sense and -- with Kyler Murray hurt -- I think the player thought the same. The Cardinals take the entire $22.6M cap hit this season, clearing more space for 2024 as GM Monti Ossenfort builds the roster in his vision.

What's next for the Cardinals' receiving corps? Hollywood Brown, who is going into the last year of his contract and has plenty of motivation this season, is now the No. 1. Rondale Moore is looking to overcome his injury issues but has a big chance, and Greg Dortch also should get a chance. Size-wise, there is veteran Zach Pascal and third-round pick Michael Wilson.

The biggest part of all this is the unknown when it comes to the offensive philosophy of Jonathan Gannon. A receiver like Hopkins fits all offenses. I'm not denying that. But there is a massive shift happening for a roster that, after last season and a change at the top, was needed.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 in Glendale, AZ.

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