Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is looking for a way to have the impact of his colleagues across the NFL measured in a way that won’t leave out some of the biggest plays in the game.
Due to his immense talent, Hopkins is no stranger to being interfered with by defensive backs, and wants his fellow NFL wide receivers and other pass-catchers to get credit for the gains they achieve for their team when they are illegally obstructed by the defense.
"I do think that the rule should change," Hopkins said, "and receivers should get counted yards for penalties." Via ESPN.com
In the Cardinals’ last game against the Miami Dolphins, Hopkins drew four penalties against Miami top-flight cornerback Xavien Howard, which accrued 42 yards for the Arizona offense. While he didn’t come down with the football on any of those plays, Hopkins' ability to shake free from Howard’s tight coverage forced the defender to make contact with Hopkins illegally -- but that precision from Hopkins was not factored into his final statistical line. It never is for NFL receivers.
Even with Hopkins' big effect on the game drawing defensive pass interference penalties, there are three other receivers that have drawn as many DPI infractions, and two others who have accrued more yardage for their team as a result of it.
According to Football Outsiders, T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts and Michael Gallup of the Dallas Cowboys are tied with Hopkins in defensive pass interference flags drawn, with a total of four so far this season. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans leads the league in both DPI penalties drawn and yardage accrued, with five flags for a total of 57 yards.
NFL: Where Hopkins' proposed rule change gets complicated
This can lead to a bit of a slippery slope for record-keeping in the NFL, who probably wouldn’t want to open Pandora’s box on this issue.
If the NFL decided to include this currently “invisible” production into receiver statistics, then they may also have to reduce the number of receiving yards if a WR commits an offensive pass interference penalty, or holds on a running play where the running back gained a large chunk of yardage.
Additionally, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is known for being adept at rushing to the line and snapping the ball when he notices 12 defenders on the field—by this logic, the yards accrued by this incredibly self-aware tactic could also need to be credited in some way.
While Hopkins’ wish is understandable, the NFL would have a difficult time accommodating such a request.
Also Read: What is Deandre Hopkins’ Contract Breakdown?