DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins is the Texans second all-time leading receiver with 632 receptions, 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns. Credit: AP

Former Texans All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins could have an interest in returning to the franchise as a free agent this summer.

But the question is, are the rebuilding Texans willing to reciprocate the interest? First-year Texans coach DeMeco Ryans didn’t dismiss a Hopkins return as a possibility when he met with the media this week.

“With any player, like good players, right? (They) come up all the time and nothing is off the table for us,” Ryans said. “We’ll explore all options. Me personally, I have not spoken with anybody.”

Hopkins, an 11-year veteran and five-time Pro Bowl receiver, has been one of the hottest free agent names this offseason. The Cardinals surprisingly released Hopkins on May 26, making the one-time most coveted receiver an unrestricted free agent.

Some teams have been lining up for the 31-year-old receiver’s services, while others like the Dallas Cowboys have made it clear they aren’t interested. The most prevalent names that keep popping up as being interested in Hopkins are the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, where former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is campaigning hard for a reunion with Hopkins.

But the only team so far that has scheduled a meeting with Hopkins is the Tennessee Titans, who plan to bring him in this weekend. There is familiarity with the Titans because head coach Mike Vrabel was with the defensive coordinator when Hopkins was with the Texans and current offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was in the same role with the Texans during one of Hopkins’ best seasons in 2019.

“We want people that want to be here,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said to the media in Tennessee on Wednesday when asked about Hopkins’ visit. “Then if that works out then you go on to the next step.”

Hopkins, of course, was unceremoniously traded to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and draft picks by former general manager/head coach Bill O’Brien in 2020. Hopkins had success in Arizona with 221 catches for 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons, but his $30.75 million salary this upcoming season became a problem.

Hopkins, who was drafted by the Texans in the first round in 2013 ranks second in franchise history with 632 catches, 8,602 receiving yards and 54 touchdowns, trailing only Andre Johnson in those categories.

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....