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Free-agent WR DeAndre Hopkins to visit Patriots next week

The DeAndre Hopkins tour has added a new destination to the circuit.

Hopkins is set to visit the New England Patriots next week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday, per sources informed of the situation.

The free-agent receiver will visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday before meeting with the Pats -- assuming the Titans let Hopkins out of the building without a new contract.

The Pats would be an intriguing destination for the five-time Pro Bowler.

Hopkins would provide Mac Jones with a go-to target the young quarterback sorely needs. While he's missed 15 games the past two seasons -- six via a suspension -- Hopkins remains one of the best receivers in the NFL. The 31-year-old can still beat younger DBs, and Nuk's sticky hands make him a bona fide No. 1. His contested-catch ability and size should allow him to age more gracefully than other wideouts.

The Pats haven't had a legit top-shelf receiver in years. Adding Hopkins would give Jones a player he can trust to win off the line of scrimmage, make tough grabs in traffic and be a threat in the red zone. Adding Nuk to this year's other free-agent addition, JuJu Smith-Schuster, would make New England's WR corps much better on paper in June. Signing Hopkins could also lead to the eventual release of perennial Bill Belichick dog-house tenant, Kendrick Bourne.

Asked on Friday what Hopkins can bring to an offense, Patriots safety Adrian Phillips simply stated: "Hands."

"He catches everything," Phillips added, per NBC Sports Boston. "His whole highlight reel is one-handers and stuff like that. He's a physical guy. He's able to turn it on at any moment."

The other aspect of a potential Hopkins signing in New England that adds intrigue is the presence of offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. There had been some thought that B.O.B.'s return to the Pats would take New England off Nuk's list. That the wideout is at least willing to schedule a visit indicates he's ready to consider a reunion with his former Texans coach.

During their run together in Houston, Hopkins and O'Brien were like whatever is the opposite of peas and carrots. O'Brien then traded the receiver to Arizona for pennies on the dollar. Would they be willing to reconcile in Foxborough?

The Patriots reportedly looked into trading for Hopkins this offseason but didn't want to ship assets to Arizona while also taking on the WR's contract. Now that he's a free agent, Belichick is taking a closer look.

Snagging Hopkins would undoubtedly go a long way in helping the Pats compete in the arms race that has become the AFC East.

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