Brian Daboll could have given a non-answer on DeAndre Hopkins.
The Giants head coach admitted Wednesday that GM Joe Schoen and the front office will “look into” the new free agent wide receiver, as they did last season with Odell Beckham Jr.
“Like last year, anytime there’s someone that’s available that’s a free agent, I’d say Joe and his staff are gonna look into it, research it,” Daboll said before his team’s fifth OTA practice. “We talk about a lot of different players. So regardless of who it is, that’s part of our job is to make sure we’re doing our due diligence.”
Hopkins, 30, only played in 19 games the past two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. But he did have 1,407 receiving yards and six TDs as recently as 2020.
And he would unquestionably upgrade the Giants’ receiving corps that has added tight end Darren Waller (trade from Raiders) and Parris Campbell (free agent, Colts) already this spring.
“I’d say we’re pretty dang good, but I’d say he’s pretty dang good,” wide receiver Darius Slayton said of Hopkins on the ‘Talkin’ Ball with Pat Leonard’ podcast. “So it’s kind of one of those ‘more the merrier’ type deals. If they bring him here, we’ll welcome him with open arms. But ultimately that will be his decision and the front office’s decision.”
Daboll at first was told there was a “big” receiver available, and he responded: “How tall is he?”
Hopkins is only 6-1, but he plays bigger. He had a 71.9% catch percentage in 2020 and is one of the NFL’s most lethal red zone targets when healthy.
League sources already told the Daily News last week that the Giants were viewed as one of a handful of teams that might land Hopkins after being released by Arizona.
The Bills, Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders are also viewed as options for the three-time All-Pro wide receiver. Jets coach Robert Saleh ruled his team out of the running for Hopkins on Wednesday.
“No, we love our current group,” Saleh said. “I know there was some stuff with Odell, but other than that, we love our group.”
The Giants only have $4.1 million in salary cap space available, so they won’t be able to outbid anyone. But this is the kind of player they could stretch salary cap damage into 2024 to acquire.
Daniel Jones got paid. The Giants are loading up, and Hopkins as another piece definitely wouldn’t hurt.
PRACTICE NOTES FROM OTA NO. 5
Saquon Barkley was the only Giants player not present at the team’s facility on Wednesday. Everyone else was there, either on the field practicing or doing rehab on a side field or in the building. Barkley is not technically on the roster at the moment, nor is he eligible to attend practice, because he hasn’t signed his franchise tag tender. But obviously that’s connected to his desire for a new contract and not just the $10.1 million one-year tag. So his absence remains glaring, even if it was the only one … Kalil Pimpleton and Collin Johnson both had strong days at receiver. Pimpleton, Isaiah Hodgins, Slayton and Campbell all caught TD passes in 7-on-7 … Cor’Dale Flott manned the slot with the first-team defense, where Darnay Holmes lined up during last week’s open practice. And Nick McCloud got a lot of snaps at safety. The reason for the Giants’ first-round selection of outside corner Deonte Banks is reinforced when viewing practice this spring. Despite adding Banks, outside linebacker Bobby Okereke and some interior D-line depth, the defense still presents unanswered questions at all three levels, slot corner being one of them … Free agent signing DT A’Shawn Robinson was noticeably working the rehab group on a side field. The Giants’ next open OTA practice is next Thursday. Then they’ll host their mandatory minicamp June 13-14.