ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Standing a few feet from a golf green, Deshaun Watson made a pitch for DeAndre Hopkins to join him in Cleveland.
The Browns quarterback said Tuesday that he has spoken to Hopkins, his close friend and former Houston teammate, and encouraged the three-time All-Pro wide receiver to consider a reunion. Hopkins is a free agent after the Arizona Cardinals released him last week.
“Of course we would love to have him,” Watson said at the Browns charity golf outing. “He knows that we had a lot of connections, but that’s kind of out of my range of things. So all I can do is make a call and see what happens and let AB (Browns general manager Andrew Berry) do the rest.”
The Browns appear to be a longshot to land the 30-year-old Hopkins because of a lack of salary cap space. But Cleveland wasn't expected to get Watson either until they lured him with a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.
The idea of throwing again to Hopkins — they were teammates for three seasons — has Watson thinking big. Although Hopkins did not list Cleveland as one of his preferred teams, Watson said that doesn't mean he has ruled out the Browns.
“I’ll just say this, D-Hop, DeAndre Hopkins would love to be in a place where the opportunity is there for us to win,” Watson said. “We check all those boxes and I think for us to know and make sure we check all those boxes on the national stage, we’ve got to go out there and prove it and I think D-Hop would love to be a part of that.”
The Browns upgraded their receiving group in the offseason, but adding a player of Hopkins' caliber could be a game-changer for a team coming off a 7-10 season.
Coach Kevin Stefanski would not comment on the team's interest in Hopkins, saying he was pleased with some of its offseason additions.
“I really, really like our wide receiver room,” Stefanski said. “I love the guys that are in there. Andrew and his crew are always looking at every avenue and that type of thing, so I won’t comment specifically on the player other than to say I really like our roster.”