DeAndre Hopkins' recent IG activity reignites Patriots trade rumors


Is the DeAndre Hopkins dream still alive for the New England Patriots?

While the Patriots have been listed as a potential suitor for the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver via trade, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported last week that New England isn't in on Hopkins after signing JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency.

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And yet ... some are holding out hope for a Hopkins trade after observing that Hopkins recently followed Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and linebacker Mack Wilson Sr. on Instagram. Here's a look at Hopkins' four most recent follows, which also include Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott:

Jones and Wilson both follow Hopkins on Instagram, so it's certainly possible that the Patriots teammates connected with Hopkins to give him their pitch on coming to New England (as Wilson did publicly on Twitter last week).

Social media activity obviously doesn't guarantee anything, and for all we know, Hopkins could have his sights set on joining Prescott in Dallas. But free-agent tight end Mike Gesicki signed with New England just one day after following the Patriots and Mac Jones on social media, so Hopkins' activity at least should raise an eyebrow or two.

The Patriots certainly could benefit from trading for Hopkins, even after acquiring Smith-Schuster and Gesicki. New England's wide receiver depth chart behind Smith-Schuster (DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton) doesn't inspire much confidence, and Hopkins would give new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver whom opposing defenses have to game-plan for.

Reports suggest Hopkins would cost a second- or third-round pick in a trade, and the Patriots also would need to absorb his $ 30.8 million cap hit. But any hurdles to a deal aren't stopping two Patriots players from keeping tabs on the Pro Bowl wideout from afar.

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