Finally, DeAndre Hopkins' chance to earn a sizeable chunk of cash is nearing. Entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, which pays him an average annual salary of less than $2 million, the Texans receiver will soon be compensated fairly for his services -- with fairly being the operative word.
When Hopkins spoke to ESPN's Tania Ganguli about what he wants out of his next contract, he didn't name a specific number. Instead, he just wants to be paid what he's "worth."
"I'm not looking for a certain range," Hopkins said. "I just want to be treated for what I'm worth. That's fair to say, right?"
When pressed further about contract talks, Hopkins deflected.
"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."
A fair deal for Hopkins should end up costing the Texans a boatload of money. Last year, Hopkins caught the third-most passes with 111 receptions, ranked third in receiving yards with 1,521, and finished with 11 touchdowns. And keep in mind, he did all of that despite catching passes from Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, and Brandon Weeden.
Imagine what he'd be able to do with a halfway decent quarterback, which is probably what the front office had in mind when they signed Brock Osweiler this offseason.
After landing Osweiler, the Texans then exercised Hopkins' fifth-year option, ensuring he'll remain with the team through the 2017 season. That fifth year would end up being a steal for the Texans, even if it would raise his salary to $7,915,000. The Bengals' AJ Green, the highest-paid receiver in the league, earns an average salary of $15 million while the Seahawks' Doug Baldwin just signed an extension that'll pay him $11.5 million per year.
If Hopkins wants to be paid fairly, then he'll rightfully demand more than that.
"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," said general manager Rick Smith. "He certainly is one of those guys that we're going to keep around here for a long time hopefully."