Photo by Eric Christian Smith
As the sports world continues to suffer a drought of sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL free agency has been the one major source of content for sports fans to enjoy since UFC Brasilia ended this past Saturday. As we transition into the new league year, NFL fans were stunned to see that All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals along with a fourth-round pick for a second-round pick, fourth-round pick and running back David Johnson.
From the Cardinals perspective, this trade was excellent. They got a top five wide receiver in the NFL without giving up their first-round pick and shed Johnson’s $10.2 million base salary. Johnson has not been the same running back that gained 2,118 all-purpose yards in 2016 as in the three seasons since, he has missed 18 of 48 games and has only gained 2,191 combined all-purpose yards. The Cardinals will still have the eighth overall pick in the upcoming draft, a pick they will most likely use to draft an offensive lineman. This is also great for young quarterback Kyler Murray as he now has a great wide receiver to work with as he develops and one to take Larry Fitzgerald’s spot as the franchise’s number one receiver. Hopkins is a big target with great hands, and he should have a lot of success.
However, this trade does not make any sense for the Houston Texans. First, the Texans have a growing star quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and he has had a great connection with Hopkins in the two full seasons Watson has been the Texans’ starter. Hopkins has caught for 2,737 yards on 219 receptions and 18 touchdowns. Besides New Orleans Saints’ All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas and Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones, there hasn’t been a better receiver statistically the last two seasons. Hopkins also has been first team all-pro the last two seasons. The fact the Texans decided to trade him and not even get a first-round pick is a puzzling decision. Reminder that wide receiver Brandin Cooks has twice been traded for a first-round pick and he has not had a season with double-digit touchdowns or more than 1,250 yards. Hopkins has already had three seasons with more than 1,250 yards and double-digits touchdowns.
The Texans received a running back with his best years behind him and the 40th overall pick. Not ideal when you just gave away a top-three wide receiver. According to Matthew Jarecki, a sports talk radio host for Fox Sports 910AM in Phoenix, he has sources saying that heading into last season, head coach and current general manager Bill O’Brien did not like DeAndre Hopkins and thought he was a problem as he was too much of a star and not like the face of the franchise, defensive end JJ Watt. O’Brien continues to show his ineptitude as the last game he coached, he blew a 24-0 lead in the playoffs at Kansas City and now he lets his emotions overcome logic in a puzzling move.
It is possible that David Johnson could have a bounce back season the way Carlos Hyde did for the Texans last season and that the second-round pick could be a great pick. It is also possible Hopkins may not work out in Arizona. However, the Texans still do not have a first-round pick this spring and just gave away Deshaun Watson’s favorite target. This trade has the potential to blow up spectacularly in the Texans’ faces and O’Brien needs to go if the Texans have no success this season.
Enjoy your gift Cardinals’ fans. Let’s see if Hopkins can continue to play at an all-pro level in Arizona.