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Rick Smith: Texans want to extend DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins' disappointing 2016 season hasn't diminished his value in the eyes of the Houston Texans.

Due to collect $7.915 million after the AFC South champions exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last offseason, Hopkins is in line for a lucrative long-term deal in the coming months.

"Our goal is to keep all of our good young players, and DeAndre is a good young player," general manager Rick Smith acknowledged Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "So, yes, we are absolutely intent on re-signing him. When that happens is up for debate.

"He's definitely in our plans. He's an excellent young football player, and I think he's one of those guys we just talked about that's an arrow-up player. And we certainly want to continue to build around him."

Smith reportedly rejected offers for Hopkins when the Patriots and Buccaneers reached out at the trade deadline last October.

Vastly underpaid on the heels of a "flat-out incredible" 2015 Pro Bowl campaign, Hopkins staged a one-day holdout to express his dissatisfaction at the opening of training camp last summer.

Although Hopkins generated an anemic 55.1 passer rating on 151 targets last season, coach Bill O'Brien intimated that the responsibility for that poor production lies with the subpar passing performance of Brock Osweiler.

"He made some important plays in the games, third-down plays, red-area plays," O'Brien explained Wednesday. "As far as production and things like that, yeah, the production dropped off a little bit, it wasn't anything that he did. I think he's a great player. I love coaching the guy. I'm looking forward to coaching him next year."

As frustrated as Hopkins may be with the organization's quarterback woes, he made it clear during Super Bowl week that the interest in a long-term deal is mutual.

"I love this organization and what this team is doing," Hopkins said, via the Houston Chronicle. "It seems like we're getting better and better every year, so why not?"

While it appears that it's only a matter of time until the two sides reach a deal, the price tag has the potential to skyrocket on the heels of Antonio Brown's market-setting extension.

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