The first-round pick has a five-year rookie deal, so the first question is when will the Texans make a meaningful effort to extend his contract? The second — and far more important — question is how much will they offer?
“I’m not looking for a certain range,” Hopkins said Saturday, via Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com. “I just want to be treated for what I’m worth. That’s fair to say, right?”
It’s fair to say, but harder to do. A player is “worth” whatever someone will pay him. But the Texans have ways to keep someone else from paying him more than the Texans would pay, starting with two more years of Hopkins being under contract and then the franchise tag.
The earlier the Texans pay Hopkins, the sooner he’ll be shifting the injury risk to the team. Thus, the longer they wait, the more Hopkins should want.
For now, the team and Hopkins’ agents are talking. Are they making any progress? Per Ganguli, the wideout paused before offering this assessment.
“You know, that’s between my agents and the Texans,” Hopkins said. “I love this city. I don’t want to play anywhere else but here. So the rest will work itself out, hopefully.”
Hopkins had 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015. The year before that, he 76 passes for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns. Making both performances even more impressive is the reality that the Texans haven’t exactly had franchise-level quarterback play. If they get it from Brock Osweiler in 2016, Hopkins’ numbers could go even higher.
And so will what he’s worth. Whatever that may be.