Sports Sunday

Breer: How Patriots' offer to DeAndre Hopkins compared to Titans'

"The Patriots didn't go to the level that the Titans did."

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Why did DeAndre Hopkins sign with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday instead of joining the New England Patriots? One word: money.

The free-agent wide receiver agreed to a two-year contract with the Titans worth $26 million in base salary and a maximum of $32 million if he reaches certain incentives, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. Hopkins will receive a $12 million base salary in 2023 with the chance to get to $15 million via incentives.

The Patriots also had interest in Hopkins, who only visited New England and Tennessee in free agency following his release from the Arizona Cardinals. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, however, the Patriots weren't willing to go the extra mile in their contract offer for the five-time Pro Bowler.

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"Based on where it was, the Patriots didn't go to the level that the Titans did," Breer explained on NBC Sports Boston's Sports Sunday. "My understanding is, the max of (the Patriots') offer was $15 million for this year -- so they matched what the Titans did for this year -- but a much higher percentage of it was in incentives.

"Whereas the Titans were $12 million base (salary), $3 million in incentives, the Patriots' offer was structured a little like the Chiefs offer going back to before the draft. The Chiefs' offer at the time was a $4 million base with a chance to make up to $10 (million).

"So, they were willing to give (Hopkins) the max that the Titans offered, but they were going to make it much harder for him to get there."

Breer's intel might be frustrating for Patriots fans to hear, considering New England had the cap space (over $17 million as of July 16) to pay Hopkins the base salary he wanted. As our Phil Perry noted, Hopkins could have given the Patriots' offense the boost it needed after a lackluster 2022 campaign.

But Perry also pointed out that Bill Belichick and his staff didn't feel the need to overpay for Hopkins, so perhaps the team wasn't comfortable giving that much guaranteed money to a 31-year-old wide receiver who has missed 15 games over the past two seasons. It sounds like the Patriots set their price point and weren't willing to exceed that number -- and that Hopkins was only interested in joining the highest bidder.

"The teams that were involved are telling me that really going up until the starting training camp, this was going to be about the money," Breer added.

For more from Breer, the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan and Sports Sunday host Michael Felger on Hopkins' move to Tennessee, check out the full segment on YouTube below.

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