Rick Smith says no negotiations are happening with DeAndre Hopkins

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DeAndre Hopkins already is good enough to become fodder for training-camp trash talk directed at Darrelle Revis. Hopkins apparently isn’t good enough yet to earn a second contract from the Texans.

The fact that Hopkins wisely decided a day after launching a holdout that the Texans held all the cards (and soon would be holding a lot of his money) doesn’t change the fact that he deserves a new contract. Every draft pick who becomes a great player deserves a new contract when he becomes eligible for a new contract after his third season ends. But more on that in a paragraph, or two.

For now, the Texans don’t seem to be inclined to give Hopkins a new contract. G.M. Rick Smith (who recently was rewarded for a decade consisting mainly of “meh” with another new contract of his own) said Saturday on NFL Network that there are no negotiations with Hopkins, via James Palmer of NFL Media.

Yes, the Texans have the right to force Hopkins to play every snap of every game of every year of his five-year rookie deal. They also have the right to apply the franchise tag in 2018, extending his stay to six years before he gets a long-term deal. If willing to give him a 20-percent raise over his 2018 tag, they can do it again in 2019 — tying him up for seven years without Hopkins ever getting the kind of life-changing security he deserves.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be happening. Five years ago, when the NFL parlayed the prevalence of first-round busts into a wage scale that dramatically reduced the money that went to players taken at the top of the draft, the league didn’t include a device for ensuring that the non-busts would still get their money. Instead, the NFL has left it to the goodwill of the teams to reward the first-rounders who would have earned the millions they’ll never see under the new wage scale.

“My argument to that is one of the things that clubs are doing over the past several years is when they see someone perform at a level higher than they may have anticipated, they adjust and they try to avoid them becoming free agents by signing them to long-term deals,” Commissioner Roger Goodell told PFT in 2010.

Apart from the term in the 2011 CBA that delays from two years to three years the ability to sign draft picks to new contract, teams still aren’t required to do anything. And the Texans, who gave 2011 first-rounder J.J. Watt a new deal after three years but won’t give one to Hopkins after three years, apparently aren’t inclined to do anything.

The end result is that Hopkins will be required to continue to bear the risk of injury, earning far less than he has proven he’s worth because there’s no way that he can force the Texans to do what Goodell predicted teams would do with players who outperform their rookie deals. The better and more fair approach would be to take some of the money they didn’t have to pay to Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, and give some of it to Hopkins.

The Texans don’t seem to be willing to do that for now, and if Hopkins suffers a career-altering injury in 2016 they may not be doing it ever.

17 responses to “Rick Smith says no negotiations are happening with DeAndre Hopkins

  1. Sounds like HOU is being stupid. I’d extend him now, earn good will and he will be earning less now than next year if they did resign him.

  2. It’s not as simple as just doing the right thing by DeAndre.
    The salary cap is a zero sum game.
    The Texans are a much better team now than they would be if the GM were to rip up Hopkins contract and give him one approaching market value ($15 mil./year?)
    If he does so, he’ll have to cut 2 or 3 starters.
    DeAndre deserves a big raise. But if the Texans give it to him before they have to, the team gets worse – perhaps a lot worse.
    Not an easy call.

  3. He has only had one good season out of 3. Maybe they want to see 2 in a row. People rip Elway for the way he manages the cap yet he has brought 5 straight division titles to the Broncos 2 Super Bowl appearances and 1 championship. Maybe we should justet the GMs do their job and not say that everybody should make 20 million a year.

  4. If I could take any WR in the league right now it would be Hopkins. He produces at an elite level, without the benefit of a top flight QB, or a legit threat on the other side(except AJohnson his rookie yr. After that he started falling off). Still the way things are constructed, he’s probably gonna have to wait. Houston could do it with some tweaking, they have 11 mil in cap room, and you construct an extension so the 1rst couple yrs cap hit isn’t too bad. But, he has no leverage. JJones had to wait until after his 4th yr, DByrant and AJGreen until after their 5th. That’s just how it is. Maybe Osweiler and Fuller/Miller can make him some extra money.

  5. Yeah, but Rick, you got paid.

    You’re not even that good at your job. Shouldn’t you give some of your money to someone that actually is??

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  7. These one-sided contracts are harmful to both player and franchise because when teams refuse to renegotiate, young players’ hard work and dedication fails to be rewarded. The clubs can blabber all they want about “fulfilling the contract”, but continuing down that path should lead agents, players and the NFLPA to push harder for shorter and shorter rookie deals. There has to be some sort of compromise -that’s what a “good contract” is all about, isn’t it?

  8. I am still laughing that ctbarryjr thinks Cushing is a “Great.” He is excellent in training camp. But you have to play more than 5 snaps a year in the regular season to be considered a football player.

  9. He has only had one good season out of 3. Maybe they want to see 2 in a row. People rip Elway for the way he manages the cap yet he has brought 5 straight division titles to the Broncos 2 Super Bowl appearances and 1 championship. Maybe we should justet the GMs do their job and not say that everybody should make 20 million a year.

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    One good season? He has 2700 yards and 17 TDs over the last two years. Odell has 2700 and 25, AJ Green 2200 and 16, and Demayrius has 2900 and 17. Antonio and Julio each have 3500+, but Nuk is right in that next group.

  10. squackduckhawk says:
    Aug 6, 2016 6:03 PM

    I am still laughing that ctbarryjr thinks Cushing is a “Great.” He is excellent in training camp. But you have to play more than 5 snaps a year in the regular season to be considered a football player.

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    You mean the guy that won Rookie of the Year – twice?

    He only missed 2 seasons, both from blocks at the knees. If you’re implying he’s injury prone, you’re not too smart. He’s been one of their best players for years, heck yeah they rewarded him.

  11. Hopkins needs to Hook up with Brock’s agent who had 1 phone call from Houston management, they offered him pie in the sky, and he said yes. Deal done in 3 minutes. Oh that Brock, he’s a clever one he is.

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