In what looks like one of the worst trades in recent memory, Bill O’Brien and the Texans have sent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a 4th round pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2nd round pick, and a 2021 4th rounder.
Cardinals get: WR DeAndre Hopkins and a 4th-round pick.
Texans get: RB David Johnson, a second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2020
The Texans have made some interesting moves under Bill O’Brien, including letting Jadeveon Clowney walk despite their need at the position standing perhaps as the most notable before today. However, the surprise trade of the team’s best player, and arguably the best receiver in the NFL, in exchange for essentially a 2nd-round pick and the hope that David Johnson is not as washed as he looked in 2019 simply defies logic.
Watching Deshaun Watson throwing to DeAndre Hopkins was one of the more exciting connections in football over the past couple of years, and now the young signal caller is left without an offensive line and with a receiving corps whose current WR1 is Will Fuller, who pulled a hamstring while reading Adam Schefter’s tweet and will be out for the first three weeks of the 2020 season.
On the flip side, this is a huge win for Steve Keim and the Cardinals, who now provide Kyler Murray with one of the best targets in the game and an immediate upgrade to their offense. For a team with needs in several areas, a veteran wide receiver of his quality at such a great price is the perfect move, and they manage to offload David Johnson and his massive contract in the process. Now they can focus on other areas of need early in the 2020 NFL Draft, like their offensive line.
While this draft class is deep and talented at the wide receiver position and it seems likely that the Texans will have options to replenish their receiver room, there is no guarantee that there is any player who will offer them the level of play that DeAndre Hopkins would have. While most teams look to surround their quarterback with talent to make his job easier, the Texans are seemingly working in the opposite direction.
At 27 years old, Hopkins has made seven All-Pro teams and has just two seasons with fewer than 1,000 yards receiving. His quarterbacks in those years were Matt Schaub and Case Keenum in 2013, and Brock Osweiler in 2016. With Deshaun Watson under center, Hopkins has been electric. In the three years since Watson was drafted, Hopkins has averaged 1,371.7 yards per season and 10.3 touchdowns.
In a time where we could all use a distraction, it looks like NFL free agency plans to deliver. Texans fans may be looking back on those days of inactivity with longing once the 2020 season gets under way.