Quarterback Deshaun Watson (#4) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans look on ahead of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, September 22, 2019. /CFP
Quarterback (QB) Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns said on Tuesday that he would "love" to join hands with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals last week.
"He just makes the throws a lot easier. His range catch radius is super, it's probably the best in the league. And I mean just the things he does, he just made my job a lot easier so I just put the ball in his direction. He made the plays," Watson said after the Browns' organized team activities (OTA) session.
Watson and Hopkins paired played together at Houston Texans between 2017 and 2019. Hopkins was selected into both the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro in every one of those three seasons after completing 315 catches for 4,115 yards and 31 touchdowns. Watson became the starting QB from 2018, completing 678 of his 1,000 passes for 8,017 yards and 52 touchdowns in 31 games. He was named to the Pro Bowl in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Quarterback Deshuan Watson of the Cleveland Browns passes during the team's organized team activities at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus in Berea, Ohio, May 24, 2023. /CFP
Hopkins was traded by the Texans to the Cardinals after the 2019 season. He completed 115 receptions for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, but continued to suffer injuries in the following years and missed 14 games in the 2021 and 2022 campaigns. The Cardinals released him last week.
"I think any situation for D-Hop would be perfect for him, but of course with me having another weapon along with all the other great weapons we have in that locker room and in that room, we always love to add talent," Watson said, adding that he doesn't want to lobby because "the whole league knows my relationship and when we got on the field together, what the stats were, that speaks for itself."
The Browns don't have enough salary space to sign Hopkins at the moment, as they are $15 million over the cap. The team released safety John Johnson III in March but designated him as a post-June 1 cut, so they will have to wait for a couple of days for money to be available, according to The Athletic.