Even by Bill O’Brien’s requirements, the Cardinals and Texans made a surprising commerce on Monday afternoon. Houston traded away arguably its second-most helpful participant, star extensive receiver DeAndre Hopkins, netting oft-injured operating again David Johnson and a second-round decide within the course of.
While I respect O’Brien’s thoughtfulness in giving us an enchanting swap to debate in these sport-free instances, I really feel for Texans followers who simply misplaced a franchise icon within the prime of his profession. Here are my ideas on what may be the most important commerce we’ll see this offseason:
Houston Texans get: RB David Johnson, 2020 second-round decide, 2021 fourth-round decide
Arizona Cardinals get: WR DeAndre Hopkins, 2020 fourth-round decide
Cardinals grade: B+
Texans grade: F
My first intuition once I noticed the phrases of this commerce was to fret whether or not Hopkins had misplaced a limb. My second intuition was to offer the Texans facet of this deal the same grade safety Tyrann Mathieu awarded his former team. This is a jaw-dropping, mind-bending, inexplicable commerce for O’Brien, whose weird run as Texans basic supervisor goes to be the topic of a 30 for 30 documentary someday.
Let’s begin with Johnson, who ought to have had damaging commerce worth, particularly after the Cardinals slapped the transition tag on Kenyan Drake earlier this morning. Johnson is now three years faraway from his solely productive NFL season. He missed nearly your complete 2017 season with a wrist damage and has been a replacement-level again over the past two seasons. The Cardinals’ offense immediately obtained higher after they changed him with Drake, who was obtainable for a late-round decide from the Dolphins.
Johnson would doubtless be in line to get a one-year deal within the $2 million vary if he hit the open market. Instead, his $10.2 million base wage is already assured for 2020, and $2.1 million of his base wage in 2021 ensures in 5 days. Throw in $960,000 in per-game roster bonuses and the Texans are on the hook for greater than $13 million for Johnson over the following 12 months.
Johnson’s deal is about $11 million underwater. If the Cardinals wished to commerce Johnson’s deal to a rational crew, my finest estimate is that they might have wanted to connect a third-round decide to get it achieved, and even that might have been on the sunshine finish of doable compensation. The Texans have now spent a third-round decide to amass Duke Johnson and dealt away the most effective extensive receivers in soccer as a result of he wasn’t sufficient to fulfill O’Brien’s want on the operating again place.
Meanwhile, the Texans obtained league-average play from Carlos Hyde after buying him when the Chiefs had been about to chop Hyde on the finish of the preseason. Hyde declined an offer from the team last week, and O’Brien’s response seems to have been the equal of a fan punching a gap of their tv after a loss. It can be one factor if the Texans had been buying Ezekiel Elliott or some famous person again, however unbiased of his contract, David Johnson in all probability profiles because the pass-catching, lower-usage half of a operating again rotation for the time being. That’s precisely what O’Brien already had in Duke Johnson. If something, the Texans nonetheless in all probability want so as to add a again who can work between the tackles.
Instead of sending a third-round decide to ship off Johnson, the Cardinals one way or the other managed to ship off Johnson by swapping fourth-round picks with the Texans. When you take into account that the Texans are sending their 2020 fourth-rounder and getting a 2021 fourth-rounder in return, most groups would truly take into account the decide swap a win for the Cardinals. I actually admire Arizona basic supervisor Steve Keim’s audacity in even asking to swap fourth-rounders; it is as if somebody supplied you $1,000 in your VHS copy of “Mr. Deeds” and also you requested that individual for extra earlier than saying sure.
That half of the deal alone is a catastrophe for the Texans. The different half — delivery out an unquestioned, bona fide star at extensive receiver for the 40th decide within the draft — is one way or the other even worse. I need not inform you how good Hopkins is, however keep in mind that he was even posting big numbers whereas O’Brien was saddling him with nameless tall quarterbacks like Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler, not to mention as soon as Deshaun Watson obtained there.
Watson has simply 9 profession dropbacks with out Hopkins within the lineup, and when an ailing Hopkins tried to grit his manner by means of a playoff sport towards the Colts with a major shoulder damage, Watson was 29-of-49 passing for simply 235 yards with a passer score of 69.7. The Texans are caught with a pair of deep threats as their prime wideouts in Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Fuller is principally locked in as Houston’s No. 1 wideout now, which is horrifying given the frequency with which the previous Notre Dame star will get injured. Fuller has performed about 36 full video games out of 64 doable contests throughout his 4 professional seasons. Do the Texans now prolong Fuller to assist pacify followers livid concerning the Hopkins deal?
We noticed what the marketplace for a franchise extensive receiver on a second contract appears like final yr when the Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns. Hopkins has a greater off-field status and has been each more healthy and extra productive than OBJ, though Beckham was a yr youthful when he was dealt. The Browns despatched the 17th and 95th picks and a beginning robust security, Jabrill Peppers, to amass Beckham. The Texans are getting the 40th decide from the Cardinals for Hopkins.
You can argue that this draft is deep in extensive receivers and that the Texans can attempt to exchange Hopkins by utilizing the second-round decide they acquired from the Cardinals on a type of wideouts, however there’s simply no manner the Texans can count on to get something near Hopkins with that decide. The Texans are additionally down their first-round decide from the Laremy Tunsil commerce and haven’t got their first- or second-round decide in 2021, so it would not shock me if O’Brien used this decide to handle the defensive facet of the ball.
Comments after the commerce have recommended Hopkins wants a new contract and that there was friction between O’Brien and his star receiver. I do not doubt these claims to be true, however they miss the purpose. Even if O’Brien determined that it was time to maneuver on from Hopkins and did not wish to reward a pissed off participant who was clamoring for a brand new deal, there is not any manner O’Brien can accept a mid-second-round decide, not to mention concurrently sending a decide swap to amass a distressed, underwater contract.
Hopkins is a franchise extensive receiver in a league during which groups just like the Jets, Colts, Raiders and Dolphins all have important cap area and a necessity for a star extensive receiver. The Ravens obtained a greater deal for Hayden Hurst on Monday than the Texans obtained for Hopkins. Bill Belichick has moved on from star extensive receivers like Deion Branch, Terry Glenn and Randy Moss prior to now, however none was on the top of his powers like Hopkins, and Belichick was capable of extract higher offers for each Branch and Moss. Even if Hopkins falls flat on his face in Arizona and Johnson returns to kind in Houston, this is able to be a disastrous commerce for the Texans when it comes to failing to maximise or remotely comprehend participant worth, which has repeatedly been an issue for O’Brien.
The solely gentle criticism I can consider on the subject of the Cardinals right here is that they’ve now devoted one other asset to including weapons for Kyler Murray when they should add items for the league’s 23rd-ranked protection by DVOA. The Cardinals re-signed Larry Fitzgerald this offseason, transition-tagged Drake and now have three second-round picks dedicated to their wideout core in Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and the second-rounder they shipped to the Texans for Hopkins. It’s good to offer your younger quarterback weapons, however they’ve positioned quite a lot of eggs on this basket.
Ideally, the Cardinals would let Drake go away and dedicate the remainder of their offseason to plugging holes on the protection, however this can be a commerce Arizona ought to and would make 100 instances out of 100, whatever the strikes it made earlier than the deal. The Cardinals will doubtless rip up the three years and $39.9 million remaining on Hopkins’ deal and provides him an extension, and whereas that can make him much less helpful when it comes to surplus worth, including a really particular expertise to the roster is a simple victory for the Cards.