Hopkins’ $49 million guaranteed is the largest for any wide receiver in the NFL.
Hopkins had a breakout season in 2015, with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last year, Hopkins’ production dipped — he finished the year with 78 catches for 954 yards and four touchdowns — with quarterback Brock Osweiler throwing him the ball. During the offseason, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said even though Hopkins’ stats were not what they were the year before, he helped the team in other ways on offense and in the locker room.
The Texans exercised Hopkins’ fifth-year option in April 2016, so the wide receiver was entering the last season of his rookie contract. Last year, Hopkins left training camp for one day because he wanted a new deal. This year, he reported to camp, telling ESPN’s Dan Graziano he did not hold out “because I know I have a great team.”
“My teammates, those guys count on me to come out here and make this team better,” Hopkins said earlier this month. “Guys like Lamar Miller, like J.J. Watt that want to win a championship. And I know, for them to be able to do that, I have to be able to come out here and help those guys do it. So you know, the other 52 players on the team, they depend on me. That’s why I’m here.”
Hopkins has a hand injury and has not practiced since the Texans’ first preseason game on Aug. 9. He is expected to be ready for Houston’s season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After trading Osweiler in March, the Texans had almost $31 million in cap space, and they put some of it to use on Thursday. Houston also gave contract extensions to free safety Andre Hal, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and fullback Jay Prosch.