It only made sense to him to get a little experience while he was playing, so he decided to negotiate his contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals after arriving in trade this offseason.
"I felt like this was a good time to learn and study everything that hopefully one day I will be doing," Hopkins said Tuesday, after signing that two-year extension that puts him under contract with the Cards through the 2024 season, when he will be 32.
The deal will reportedly give him a $27.5 million signing bonus and $42.75 million in guaranteed money. Hopkins arrived in trade with three years remaining on his contract, scheduled for salaries of $12.5 million, $13.5 million and $13.92 million – none of it guaranteed.
Hopkins also confirmed there is a no-trade clause in the contract as well as a no-franchise tag clause.
Calling Arizona "the place I want to be" as the reason he wanted the no-trade clause, Hopkins said there was a simple reason he wanted to lock himself up with the Cards for the next few years.
"I've never had more than (three) years with any one quarterback in my eight years of playing football," he said. "Being able to build a relationship with the quarterback, the sky is the limit. Being able to be with a quarterback (Kyler Murray) that I know is the future of this organization for five years and having offseasons and building it, man, it's exciting."
General manager Steve Keim said the only other player he had ever negotiated a contract with directly was Larry Fitzgerald – "I can tell you that was no picnic either," Keim deadpanned – but he also noted he got to know Hopkins even more as a person.
There were some disagreements, Keim acknowledged, but "more than anything both sides remained positive." Keim added that the deal, while it gives Hopkins what he desired, still gives the Cardinals flexibility with the salary cap in dealing with future roster constructs.
Hopkins estimated he did about 90 percent of the deal himself, using an advising team that has also helped Texans tackle Laremy Tunsil and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner do their own contracts. There was a lot of late night reading, studying not only the Cardinals' playbook but also the language and rules of contract work.
Carving out time to do the yoga Hopkins enjoys was difficult to do, but he said he meditated and spoke often with his circle of friends and family, especially his mother.
"There was no mental stress from the way we negotiated," Hopkins said. "(We) negotiated in good faith knowing it would get done. Never any animosity or mental stress on my part. Going forward, I'm worrying about San Fran, and that's been my mindset since I got here."
Owner Michael Bidwill, during the signing, congratulated Hopkins on completing the biggest NFL contract ever by a player negotiating for himself, as well as becoming the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL.
"The Cardinals, I can't thank them enough for coming and getting me from my previous team and showing me that my work is deserving," Hopkins said.
"I'm looking forward to playing some of my best football with this team and the goal is to be what everyone should be wanting, and that's to win a championship. That's the only thing on my mind."