There’s drama in Houston as training camp begins for the reigning AFC South champions, as star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not report to camp and is holding out as he wants a new contract.
ESPN reports that the 2013 first round pick will be subjected to a $40,000 fine each day he isn’t at camp, but he’s looking to be paid as a top wide receiver - which is what he deserves but is far from what he’s getting paid currently.
In three seasons with the Texans, Hopkins has already established himself as one of the very best receivers in the league despite not playing with star (or even above-average) quarterbacks. Hopkins has started all 48 games and has caught 239 passes for 3,533 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 14.8 yards per catch. He has two straight 1,000 yard seasons, and last year caught 111 passes (third in the NFL) for 1,521 yards (third in the NFL) and 11 scores (seventh in the NFL). With the unproven Brock Osweiler as the new starting quarterback for the Texans, he could really use a proven and reliable wideout as he prepares for the 2016 season.
The Texans now have question marks with both of their elite players, as in addition to Hopkins’ holdout, defensive end J.J. Watt is out with a back injury and his return date is still uncertain. Houston is very much intent on contending now, so they really don’t have much leverage here: their best offensive player wants to be paid like he deserves, and the Texans can’t really afford to let him miss time this season as they hope to win the AFC South and contend in the conference. Teams never like giving in to holdouts, but I think Hopkins has the leverage here.
This is very noteworthy news as it pertains to the Colts, as DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best players on the Texans and Houston will be one of the biggest competitors to the Colts in the quest for an AFC South title.