The 49ers watched the Cardinals downgrade during the offseason, but seeing DeAndre Hopkins leave would be the icing on the cake.
San Francisco 49ers fans can probably recall that season-opening game against the Arizona Cardinals way back in 2020 when the Arizona Cardinals knocked off head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. by a score of 24-20.
It was an ominous sign to a season most Niners fans would probably like to forget.
One of the reasons why San Francisco lost that particular game was because of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who torched the 49ers defense to the tune of 14 catches for 151 yards, then a career-high for him.
Now, heading deeper into the 2023 offseason and amid a complete rebuild in Arizona, Hopkins is nearing what could be a move away from the NFC West, according to the latest from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, for whom the Dallas Cowboys traded recently, could impact a market for Hopkins.
But the Niners won’t care about any of that, so long as Hopkins is out of the division. And, with the Cardinals ushering in a new era under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, the sooner the better.
And hopefully, the Rapoport rumor is true here.
49ers want nothing more than DeAndre Hopkins out of NFC West
For years, San Francisco wanted nothing more than for quarterback Russell Wilson to be gone from the Seattle Seahawks. It happened last offseason, although Wilson’s Denver Broncos beat the 49ers early in the 2022 season.
At least he’s out of the NFC West, though.
Now, getting Hopkins out might be the best thing that could happen between the Niners and Cardinals.
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That Week 1 game from 2020 isn’t the only reason either. In six career games against San Francisco, split between Arizona and the Houston Texans, Hopkins has 50 receptions for 549 yards and three touchdowns. And he had 87 and 91 yards, respectively, in the last two games against the 49ers.
The 49ers swept the Cardinals last season, yes. But Arizona had been a proverbial thorn in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s side dating back to 2017, and Hopkins certainly played a role in that.
Assuming Rapoport is correct about other teams ramping up their interest in the soon-to-be 31-year-old five-time Pro Bowler, the Niners would be more than thrilled to get Hopkins as far away from the NFC West as possible.
Let’s just not see the Seahawks or Los Angeles Rams trade for him, though.