Best fits for DeAndre Hopkins: NFL teams that could pay the star receiver

WR DeAndre Hopkins, with a $30.75 million cap number, was released on Friday. Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals released DeAndre Hopkins on Friday, ending a tenure in the desert that lasted three seasons and a total of 35 games for the three-time All-Pro.

Though among the most productive wideouts -- he was the fifth-most-heavily-used wide receiver in the league (34.8% of the Cardinals' receiving yards) for the weeks that he played in 2022 -- Hopkins was scheduled to have a cap hit of $30.8 million this season, which would've been the highest for any wide receiver in the NFL. His $19.45 million salary -- though not guaranteed -- was prohibitive for interested teams that wanted to rework his contract or requested that Arizona pay part of the salary. Odell Beckham Jr. signing for $15 million guaranteed with Baltimore made taking less even tougher for Hopkins, who is healthier and more productive.

Hopkins, who turns 31 on June 6, is a six-time 1,100-yard-plus receiver with 71 career touchdowns who figures to be highly sought-after on the open market -- and pricey. Will a contending team look to add Hopkins as a potential final missing piece for a Super Bowl title? How much will the teams' quarterbacks factor into Hopkins' decision? What about the head coaches? Will the time Hopkins missed because of injury in 2021 and a suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs in 2022 enter into the equation for any suitors?

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler sized up the complete state of Hopkins' free agency and identified which teams might stand as the best and most intriguing fits:

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