Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reconnected with a Texan’s player following WR DeAndre Hopkins ending his holdout from camp, who described the relationship between the Texans organization and the young star receiver as “borderline poisonous” at the moment.
This player did say he also expects the two sides to repair the damage, but that Hopkins is “not going to keep quiet about this.”
The main issue from Hopkins’ perspective, according to Freeman, is his believe that the current CBA has led to rookies getting screwed in regards to their contracts.
“He knows his value,” a Texans’ player explained to Freeman. “I think a part of him also sees this as a fight for other players, especially rookies. He thinks rookies get screwed on their contracts.”
Freeman spoke to sources around the league, who view NFL rookie contracts as among the worst in all of sports, and easy to outperform with little opportunity to renegotiate.
Rookies need to accrue four years of NFL experience to qualify as an unrestricted free agent and hopefully cash in on the open market. However, teams have fifth-year options for rookies and can always use their franchise tag on them the following year, which creates a difficult situation for young stars like Hopkins.
With this in mind, there was really no way Hopkins could afford to hold out into the season, considering he really needs that year of NFL service.
Also, Hopkins would have been subject to fines of $40,000 for each day missed. Field Yates points out that Hopkins has a $445,000 roster bonus on August 4th if he is on 90-man roster. However, he wouldn’t have received this if he was still on the reserve/did not report.
Hopkins, 24, was taken with the No. 27 overall pick back in 2013. He was in the final year of his four-year, $7.64 million rookie contract and set make a base salary of $1 million for the 2016 season when the Texans picked up his fifth-year option in April.
The fifth-year option will run them over $7.9 million in 2017, but is guaranteed only for injury and won’t prevent them from working on a long-term extension over the next year.
In 2015, Hopkins appeared in all 16 games for the Texans and recorded 111 receptions for 1,521 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 6 receiver out of 121 qualifying players.