The Titans’ need at receiver prompted their recruitment of DeAndre Hopkins. The wild thing is that, prior to that, the franchise leader in career hits was a head coach – Mike Vrabel’s 10 are more than any of his players. So there’s no question they could use someone with Hopkins’ experience, and it won’t hurt second-year man Treylon Burks to get a chance to see a former All-Pro on the ground level.
That’s why the Titans did what they did to get him.
When Hopkins was on his visit in June, the team brought him to dinner. The brass took it to a suite at CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium. It was a very real recruitment and he aimed to make sure the fit was there for both sides – and that part definitely worked.
During those two days, the Titans felt Hopkins’ energy for the country, confirming that he would probably be committed to his 10th year in the league, and they learned how deep his relationships were with some of the guys on their roster. That added to what they saw on tape, which was a receiver who still has top-shelf hands, and one capable of being the outlet for Ryan Tannehill that the team was missing in the weeks leading up to camp.
Now, there’s the matter of managing his practice load — Hopkins, back in Houston, has received allowances from his teams to take routine days off from work on the field during the season as part of how he prepares his body with a lot of miles on it for game day each week. But Vrabel has always helped vets that way, so it should be less of a problem for the Titans than it might have been for others.
So does that mean Hopkins will come back and catch 100 balls? No. But waiting until the start of camp, the way I see it, would certainly open the door for the Chiefs to come back — once Chris Jones is done (we’re still waiting) — and that might not have ended well for the Titans. Doing it this way removes that risk and helps give an offense that still has holes (namely, along the offensive line) something to lean on, even if the line isn’t what it used to be.
(Good for Hopkins, too, for getting the money he did at this point in the calendar.)