Last year, the Cardinals traded for receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He eventually leapfrogged Falcons receiver Julio Jones as the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, based on new money.
Now, Hopkins is politicking for the Cardinals to acquire Jones, too.
Hopkins said this on Twitter: “Somebody at the gym asked me would I restructure my contract for Julio?” He then added a gif of Neil Patrick Harris firing off a pair of thumbs up.
There isn’t much Hopkins can currently do. His base salary stands at only $4.75 million this year. If he reduces it to the bare minimum of $1.075 million and spreads the remaining $3.675 million over the balance of his deal, he’d create only $2.75 million in extra cap space.
While every dollar helps, other Cardinals players have much larger base salaries — and in turn can create much more cap space with restructurings. Chandler Jones, for example, can convert nearly $14.5 million into a signing bonus (they’d need to add dummy years onto the deal, since he’s in the last year of his current contract). Tackle D.J. Humphries can convert more than $13 million (he has two years left on his contract). Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has a base salary of $10 million (he’s also entering the last year of his contract).
The Cardinals have more than $10 million in cap space. Jones has a base salary of $15.3 million. That number quite possibly will drop, based on the amount of salary that the Falcons will pay to facilitate a trade — unless the Falcons have so many suitors that they can insist on paying nothing, while also getting the second-round pick they’re seeking for the Jones contract.
The separate question is whether the Cardinals have room for Jones. They currently have Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and rookie second-rounder Rondale Moore.