Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins talks with Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. (Syndication: The Tennessean)

The DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes now involves a new front-runner as the Titans snagged the first visit for the coveted free agent wide receiver.

Here’s the thing about veteran NFL free agents: Only some of them are serious when they say they want to go somewhere to compete for a championship.

Every player wants to play for a contender but when you get down to brass tacks, it’s money that talks. And in the case of DeAndre Hopkins, the contenders like the Chiefs and Bills want him to take less money. So, of course, a non-contender like the Tennessee Titans are getting first crack.

Hopkins is due to visit the Titans in Nashville on Sunday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Titans get first shot at landing DeAndre Hopkins

Visiting Tennessee doesn’t mean a deal will get done there, but Hopkins has ties to head coach Mike Vrabel, who was on staff as a linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator while the wide receiver was in Houston.

Titans players were asked about the possibility of Hopkins joining and several made it clear they’re very in favor of the idea.

Big Jeff on DeAndre Hopkins:

“If he decides to sign here, I’d love to have him as my teammate”. #Titans

— Titans247 (@NFL_Titans247) June 8, 2023

Titans safety Amani Hooker on possibility of WR DeAndre Hopkins joining the team recalls how easily the 3-time All Pro caught passes last year during joint practices:

— Teresa Walker 👑 (@TeresaMWalker) June 8, 2023

The Titans went 7-10 last year but they weren’t far off winning the AFC South and going to the playoffs. They need to keep pace with the Jaguars and adding Hopkins might help them do that.

Desperation alone could make them the frontrunner to sign Hopkins in the end.

At the same time, spending resources on an aging wide receiver has bitten the team in the past. They traded for Julio Jones in 2021 and were left disappointed with 10 games, 31 catches, 434 yards and one touchdown out of him at 32 years old. Hopkins just turned 31.

Tennessee also doesn’t have an abundance of cap space. They had to cut Robert Woods to clear cap space earlier this year.

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