The Patriots hosted free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Wednesday and Thursday, and the two sides had a productive visit, according to The Athletic. There is no deal at the moment, but there's reportedly still optimism the two sides can reach an agreement. Both sides are expected to take some time to assess their next steps, according to ESPN.
As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported, there's no expected timetable for Hopkins to make his decision. Although Hopkins has already left Gillette Stadium, he's still in the area, according to Jeff Howe.
Smith-Schuster was one of the team's prized free-agent additions this offseason, landing a three-year, $25.5 million deal to replace departed starter Jakobi Meyers. But the former Steelers and Chiefs veteran suffered a knee injury in the AFC Championship Game and is still recovering from it, with coach Bill Belichick labeling Smith-Schuster "day to day" at minicamp.
With a previous injury history, which extended from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, Smith-Schuster may already be well behind schedule getting acclimated to the Patriots' offense, NFL Media speculates. That could be part of the reason the team is so interested in courting Hopkins, who'd slot in as an immediate starter if signed.
On Thursday, Hopkins posted a picture of him and Patriots pass-rusher Matt Judon on his Instagram story with the caption, "La familia."
It's unclear exactly how much Hopkins is seeking on the open market, but the Patriots currently have just over $14 million in available salary cap space for 2023. They'd previously been linked to the former Texans and Cardinals star via trade, but potential talks never materialized due primarily to the steep salary Hopkins commanded on his previous deal.