This ‘impediment’ might get in the way of a potential DeAndre Hopkins trade to the Patriots

A member of New England's coaching staff might deter DeAndre Hopkins from going to the Patriots.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz.
DeAndre Hopkins has been linked to the Patriots throughout the offseason. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

DeAndre Hopkins makes plenty of sense as a trade pickup for the Patriots this offseason.

He might be 31 years old when training camp opens in July, but Hopkins is a big-play wideout who can add a much-needed element to New England’s offense in 2023 and beyond.

But could the return of Bill O’Brien to Foxborough prevent any deal from being struck?

ESPN’s Dan Graziano seems to think so. In his latest column detailing the fallout from the NFL’s Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Graziano noted that Hopkins’ icy relationship with his former coach in Houston might steer him away from New England.


“It sounds like the history between Hopkins and new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is an impediment to his landing in New England,” Graziano wrote.

Hopkins played for O’Brien for six seasons with the Texans, but was eventually traded to Arizona in 2020 after O’Brien took over GM duties in Houston.

A month after getting dealt to the Cardinals, Hopkins noted in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he didn’t have much to share about his time with O’Brien.

“There was no relationship,” Hopkins said. “Make sure you put that in there. There’s not a lot to speak about.”

Even if there was a falling out between Hopkins and O’Brien over their final seasons together in Houston, multiple players and coaches tied to both franchises believe that time heals all wounds when it comes to coach-player relationships.

“I think adult relationships are always complicated no matter what you do,” John Perry, who coached wide receivers in Houston under O’Brien said in an interview with MassLive last month. “But the thing is when you look at DeAndre Hopkins and his relationship with Coach O’Brien, both of them brought out the best in each other. I still have a strong relationship with coach (O’Brien) and with DeAndre. He and I speak all the time.


“I know they would easily be able to work together again because they’re both professionals and both want the same thing, which is just to play at a high level and give their team the best opportunity to win.”

J.J. Watt, who spent most of his career in Houston before playing with Hopkins again in Arizona, added that the top priority for Hopkins these days is joining a successful franchise.

“I think if Hop thinks he can win there, I think he would go,” Watt said of Hopkins potentially joining New England during an interview on the “Pat McAfee Show. “I think he’s at a point in his career where he wants to have the ability to win. I think it more comes down to if he believes that he has a chance to go win.

“If he believes, ‘That’s a place that I can win,’ I don’t think that relationship would stop him from going there.”


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