How losing DeAndre Hopkins hurts the Houston Texans in 2020
The Houston Texans have traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, and the franchise will hurt because of that decision.
The Houston Texans had wide receiver Deandre Hopkins on the roster for at least the next three seasons, and even better than that, Hopkins is still only 27 years old, meaning the Texans had a pretty good thing going with one of the better wide receivers in the NFL.
That all changed Monday afternoon when the Texans and general manager Bill O’Brien traded the All-Pro wide receiver and a fourth-round draft pick this year to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
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That said, in his Football Morning in America column, Peter King on warned us all on Monday morning, writing the following about Hopkins and the Texans possibly parting ways:
"“It might be just pre-draft chatter, but two teams over the weekend told me to watch Houston and DeAndre Hopkins, who has three years and a reasonable $40 million left on his contract, and who’d cause only a $3-million cap hit to the Texans if they traded him.”"
The Texans’ first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft was the 57th overall selection, and they won’t have a first-round pick for the 2020 and 2021 drafts as they traded those picks to the Miami Dolphins when they acquired Laremy Tunsil to solve their issues at left tackle last offseason.
In 2019, Hopkins at 27 years old had the following numbers, as some question if he’s still as good as he once was (Hopkins’ 2018 numbers are in parentheses):
• 104 receptions (115)
• 1,165 yards (1,572)
• 11.2 yards per reception (13.7)
• 7 touchdowns (11 touchdowns).
Hopkins had four dropped passes in ’19 and had 387 yards after catch, with his top reception being 43 yards. The wide receiver also averaged 77.7 yards per game receiving, as he was targeted 150 times.
So, yes, the numbers of Hopkins did drop from 2018 to 2019, but for the Texans to trade the best wide receiver in franchise history not named Andre Johnson is a huge decision to make, and it was the wrong decision to make as well.
The Texans currently don’t have the best track record when it comes to wide receivers staying healthy, with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills each missing multiple games. There is also DeAndre Carter, who isn’t a top-tier wide receiver, and Keke Coutee might not even be on the roster this upcoming season.
We all know the Texans have issues elsewhere on the roster — especially the continuance of rebuilding the offensive line and fixing the defense — but in trading Hopkins, who exactly will Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throw the football to next season?
Maybe this is with blinders on, but Hopkins isn’t near finished in the NFL, and the Texans needed him on the offense, because most of the time he was the reason drives stayed alive. Hopkins made all the other wide receivers around him better because he draws all the coverage, and that makes a difference which doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.
The Texans gaining Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Hopkins fixes their issues at running back, but now they have a problem at wide receiver.
Losing Hopkins causes concern for the Texans offense because how often does a franchise have an All-Pro wide receiver like Hopkins on their roster? The Texans might have some other ideas, it could be true Hopkins wanted to leave the Texans as well.
Either way, not having Hopkins’ presence on their roster — whether it be in the locker room with his professionalism or on the field with his ability to draw all the attention — hurts the offense, hurts Watson, and it will be tough to replace his talent once the season begins.