Cardinals release DeAndre Hopkins: A look at 20 of the NFL’s most surprising cuts, including Peyton Manning

A former All-Pro wideout is on the open market with just over 100 days remaining until the start of the regular season. DeAndre Hopkins, after a three-year run with the Arizona Cardinals, was released by the team on Friday. Arizona saves just under $9 million in cap space by releasing Hopkins, a five-time Pro Bowler who will play for his third team in 2023.

Hopkins joins a notable list of NFL stars who were released in their prime. The ranking of the most surprising releases of NFL stars in their prime includes a slew of players who are currently enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here’s the list of the top-20 players to be released in their prime. Yes, the list does include Hopkins, who caught 853 passes for 11,298 yards and 71 touchdowns during his first decade in the NFL.

Where will DeAndre Hopkins play next season? Head over to SportsLine to see which teams have the best odds of landing the perennial Pro Bowler.

Manning’s neck injury and the fact that the Colts would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft led to Indianapolis parting ways with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Colts ended up selecting quarterback Andrew Luck, who led the Colts to several playoff appearances during his seven-year career. Manning played another four seasons in Denver that included a league MVP, two AFC titles and a Super Bowl 50 title. 

2. Jerry Rice 

The 49ers decided to part ways with a then 38-year-old Rice following the 2000 season. That season, Rice caught 75 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns while playing alongside Terrell Owens. Rice enjoyed a career rebirth in Oakland that included a Pro Bowl campaign at age 40 while helping the Raiders reach the Super Bowl. 

3. Emmitt Smith 

Smith was released by the Cowboys shortly after he broke Walter Payton’s career rushing record. A three-time Super Bowl champion for the Cowboys, Smith chose to continue his…


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