The Texans rebuilt the offense this offseason to complement not only their fabulous defense but rising star DeAndre Hopkins That can't happen until the All-Pro receiver reports to camp, which he failed to do Friday night, according to ESPN's Tania Ganguli and Adam Schefter.
Ganguli, however, reported Sunday Hopkins is ending his holdout and plans to speak Monday afternoon. Meantime, he's released a statement.
“I too am disappointed that the Texans’ organization has elected not to enter into contract negotiations to secure my future as a Texan,” Hopkins said in a statement to Ganguli. “I have expressed my sincere position regarding my contract status and with sound mind have expressed my [stance)]to the Texans’ organization. My focus also is on the 2016 season and to help my team reach our ultimate goal. Having said that, I am returning to the Houston Texans to play for a [Super Bowl] in Houston, Texas. I will be holding a 3 p.m. press conference at Reliant Stadium today. We are excited about returning to the team and grind this camp.”
Hopkins, 24, blossomed into one of the game's premier playmakers last season, his third since arriving in Houston as the 27th overall pick in 2013. His 111 catches for 1,521 yards places the first-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro (second team) third in the NFL.
That makes his four-year, $8 million rookie deal with a fifth-year team option peanuts relative to other monster contracts in this record spending offseason. Now he wants to be rewarded despite Houston controlling his rights at an incredble discount for two more seasons.
Therein lies the problem.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle points out on Twitter GM Rick Smith, whose own contract was extended Friday, hasn't typically negotiated deals with two years remaining — with three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt's being the lone exception.
But Smith's new fancy editions (Brock Osweiler, Lamar Miller and Will Fuller) cannot be maximized without Hopkins, one of the game's most acrobatic and competive receivers, happy and on the field.
For now, one of the NFL's best receivers appears to have conceded to playing in 2016 as one of the league's better bargains. We'll see if Hopkins arriving to camp compels Smith to alter his stance.