Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins wants fair deal for his skills

ByTania Ganguli ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

HOUSTON -- Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is the next Texansfirst-round pick due for a contract extension. He's not consuming himself with those negotiations, but he has an idea of what he wants.

"I'm not looking for a certain range," Hopkins said, during a break at a football camp for local children. "I just want to be treated for what I'm worth. That's fair to say, right?"

It's a pivotal offseason for his financial future. Hopkins is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal, a time when the Texans have extended each first-round pick that was drafted under the current collective bargaining agreement, and he's hoping the Texans follow suit with him.

J.J. Watt was the first in 2011, and he signed a new deal in September 2014. Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, the 2012 first-round pick, signed a contract extension in May 2015. Hopkins was the Texans' first-round pick in 2013.

In his time in Houston, Hopkins has caught 239 passes for 3,533 yards and 19 touchdowns. Last season his 111-catch, 1,521-yard, 11-touchdown performance earned him his first Pro Bowl selection. He also became the first player in NFL history to have 100-yard games with four different quarterbacks in the same season.

Receiver contracts haven't been especially lucrative lately. Doug Baldwin signed a deal worth $11.5 million a year with the Seattle Seahawks in June. The Chargers signed Keenan Allen to a deal worth $11.25 million earlier that month. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Allen Hurns to a deal worth $10 million per year.

Bengals receiver A.J. Green is the league's highest-paid receiver with a deal worth $15 million per year that he signed in September 2015.

The Texans exercised Hopkins' fifth-year option earlier this offseason. That means 2016 wouldn't be his final year with the team, even if a contract extension isn't reached. But the team did the same with Watt as he entered his fourth season, and still extended his contract before that year began.

"D-Hop is really, really emerging into one of the better wide receivers in the league and you're right, we exercised the option so this isn't his last year," Texan general manager Rick Smith said. "He certainly is one of those guys that we're going to keep around here for a long time hopefully. He's working hard."

As for Hopkins, he paused slightly when asked what progress had been made with his contract.

"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."