Cardinals say DeAndre Hopkins likely staying after busy draft night

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals made three trades Thursday night, two of which reshaped the top of the NFL draft, but none of them involved moving star receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

It's likely Hopkins won't be going anywhere, actually.

Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort said after the Cardinals were done with their first round that he doesn't expect to trade Hopkins at any point during this week's draft.

"I don't foresee that happening," Ossenfort said Thursday night after the Cardinals drafted offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 6 after starting the day with the third overall pick. "I don't know what is going to happen here in the next couple days. Right now, I don't foresee that happening, no."

Ossenfort later doubled down on Hopkins, who has been the center of trade speculation for months because of his $30.75 million cap hit in 2023.

"DeAndre's a Cardinal," Ossenfort said, "and we're moving forward."

While Hopkins wasn't traded, Ossenfort was, however, dealing draft picks throughout the first round. The Cardinals' frenzied start to the draft actually kicked off before a pick was made.

Minutes before the first round began, the Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles settled tampering charges against Ossenfort by swapping third-round picks in addition to the Cardinals getting an Eagles fifth-round pick next season.

Arizona then intently watched as the Houston Texans went on the clock at No. 2, knowing whom they picked would affect both the Cardinals' selection if they stayed at No. 3 and which teams would try to trade for the pick. When the Texans took quarterback C.J. Stroud at No. 2, Ossenfort said it impacted the teams that were interested in trading up to the third pick.

"We had a couple options there depending on what would happen at [Nos.] 1 and 2," Ossenfort said.

The Cardinals had spent the week discussing potential trades with various teams in the top 10 that Arizona knew wanted to move up, Ossenfort said. By the time the Cardinals went on the clock, setting the stage for a hectic half-hour, Ossenfort knew there were "multiple" teams interested in moving up.

Arizona was prepared to draft a player at No. 3 in case it didn't get an offer worth taking. As the 10-minute clock ticked away, Ossenfort was talking to the Texans about them moving up from 12th to third.

"We were weighing a couple options, and the option with Houston presented itself for us to grab a high second-round pick and then to also grab a first and a third next year, which was really important," Ossenfort said. "Not something that we set out to do. We were ready to pick a player, but the opportunity presented itself and so we dropped back to 12."

Arizona traded the third pick and the 105th pick -- the third pick in the fourth round -- for the 12th and 33rd picks in this year's draft and a first- and a third-round pick in next year's draft.

"It was tense there," Ossenfort said. "The clock was winding down there on our third pick when we finally got the deal with Houston worked out."

Sitting at No. 12, Ossenfort and his team began going through scenarios of moving back up that they worked through during the week. Just as he had talked with teams about trading down from No. 3, Ossenfort had talked with teams about moving back up should the Cardinals find themselves in the type of position they were in Thursday night.

When Arizona began "investigating possibilities to climb back up," Ossenfort said, the Cardinals had a couple of teams willing to make a deal.

"What we were trying to do is just minimize the unknown, which I don't think you can ever completely do, but we were trying to at least get a framework of what a trade would be to, I guess ... move back and then again move back up," Ossenfort said.

While they were sitting at 12th, the Cardinals felt there were "multiple spots" to move up to, Ossenfort said.

The Cardinals then traded the 12th, 34th and 168th picks to the Detroit Lions for the sixth and 81st picks. They drafted Johnson with the sixth pick.

"I don't think it's something that we said, 'Oh, we got to, at the start of the day, we have to come out of here with this and this,'" Ossenfort said.

Coincidentally, the Cardinals' brass had prior relationships with the team's two trade partners Thursday night. Ossenfort worked with Texans general manager Nick Caserio in New England for years and assistant general manager Dave Sears came to Arizona from the Detroit Lions this year.

While Ossenfort said it was a coincidence that Arizona traded with both of those teams, having the relationships certainly helped.

"What it does do is, it makes the conversation easy, right?" Ossenfort said. "I can call up Nick Caserio down in Houston, who's been a friend and a mentor of mine, and I trust Nick. He trusts me and we can have honest conversations about, 'Hey, yeah, this would work, this wouldn't work.' And Dave being able to pick up the phone and calling, initiating conversations with Detroit, sure, that helps."

Ossenfort's first round will be remembered for its chaos. When he was described as a "wheeler-dealer," Ossenfort couldn't help but laugh.

"A wheeler-dealer, man. ... I'm not going to lie, it was exciting," Ossenfort said. "Man, it was awesome. That was fun. That was a lot of fun."