While the entire world is shutting down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Football League has started to turn the wheels and open the floodgates. The NFL Free Agency period exploded this week with several acquisitions, trades, and cuts that bring music to the ears of every sports lover. Sports has been the thing that most turned to in times of uncertainty or crisis, so having football news to talk about when literally no other sports are going on is reassuring, to say the least. Without further ado, there was a trade made on Monday afternoon that gave me a good chuckle (I’m still trying to figure out why the trade happened by the way), as football and some of its wild happenings never cease to amaze me.
The Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans were involved in an absolutely stunning trade on March 16th. Houston traded away arguably their most valuable player, star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and received injury-prone running back David Johnson as well as a fourth-round pick.
Let’s just take a brief moment of silence for Texans fans out there…
Okay. Here we go.
Anyone who has any football knowledge knows that maniacal decisions seem to be made almost on a daily basis by Texan’s GM/Head Coach Bill O’Brien. While I am shocked at the trade in general, I can’t say I’m surprised that another mistake was made by O’Brien. Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the more serious headscratchers for Texans fans. Trading your franchise’s most popular wide receiver who is one of the top three receivers in the game today for a middle-of-the-road pick and a running back who hasn’t had a standout season since he took the world by storm in 2016 seems preposterous. This has ‘trade of the offseason’ written all over it, and it may haunt Houston fans for the next decade of O’Brien isn’t more careful.
Houston Texas get: RB David Johnson, 2020 second-round pick, 2021 fourth-round pick.
Arizona Cardinals get: WR DeAndre Hopkins, 2020 fourth-round pick.
even madden didn't accept the deandre hopkins trade pic.twitter.com/47IX17n2wE
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) March 16, 2020
No amount of time analyzing the trade summary above will help wrap your mind about what was able to take place to start off the 2020 Free Agency period in the NFL. David Johnson, who has shown tremendous promise in his first few seasons in the league as the next generation of 1,000 yards-rushing / 1,000 yards-receiving running backs, hasn’t had a decent season since his breakout 2016 Pro Bowl season. Injuries and next-man-up scenarios in Arizona have limited DJ, which has lead to many analysts thinking he should actually have negative trade value (not O’Brien of course).
If Johnson were to have hit the market before the trade, he would likely be in line to get a one-year deal in the $2 million range. Instead, Houston will be paying his $10.2 million base salary that is already guaranteed for 2020, and $2.1 million of his base salary in 2021 guarantees this week. The Texans are going to end up paying more than $13 million for Johnson over the next calendar year.
The most frustrating part of this deal is the fact that Houston let arguably their best player in franchise history walk for what seems like a bag of Skittles and some later-round draft picks. A receiver that continued to thrive amongst the likes of Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler throwing him the ball, Hopkins has always had “IT”. Now, the Texans are looking at a receiver core that features injury-prone Will Fuller as the No. 1 option, with another deep threat in Kenny Stills coming in at No. 2. I haven’t even mentioned that despite not paying Hopkins, the Texans ended up signing 29-year old free agent Randall Cobb (formerly of the Packers and Cowboys) to a three-year deal worth $27 million ($18.75 mil guaranteed), thus completely destroying the reason that Hopkins was let go in the first place, and actually paying MORE money in the long run than if they had just kept him and paid him.
Sure, this year’s draft is extremely deep at the wide receiver position. However, due to the Laremy Tunsil trade last season, they don’t have a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, nor a first or second-round pick in the 2021 draft. It is unlikely that they will get as talented of a young stud as Hopkins was, so here we are again, minds exploding at how insane this trade was.
Only time will tell if this trade will work out better for one team or the other, but a few things are certain today:
1) This is a huge blow not only to the 2020 Houston Texans but to the franchise for the next several years.
2) The Arizona Cardinals now have an offensive weapon set of DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake (franchise tagged), Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Andy Isabella, who are all lead by a young stud in Kyler Murray.
3) In signing Ryan Tannehill to a multi-year deal with hopes of signing Derrick Henry to a similar deal, the Tennessee Titans aren’t going away anytime soon. They’ll be giving the Texans fits for the next half-decade within the AFC South.
Current odds for Houston / Arizona as NFL Free Agency continues:
Houston Texans Win Total O/U: 8 (over pays out -110)
Houston Texans Win AFC South Odds: +250 (3rd highest in division)
Houston Texans Super Bowl Odds: +5000
Arizona Cardinals Win Total O/U: 7.5 (over pays out -120)
Arizona Cardinals Win NFC West Odds: +500 (highest odds in division)
Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl Odds: +5000