Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien still believes he made the correct decision when he traded DeAndre Hopkins.
It has been a few weeks and some time has passed since the Houston Texans and Bill O’Brien decided to trade All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and to this day the general manager O’Brien still believes he made the correct decision.
Was it really the best decision, though?
O’Brien — who is not only the general manager, but also the head coach — traded Hopkins and a fourth-round draft pick (2020) for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick (40th overall in 2020) and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
When the trade occurred with the Arizona Cardinals, fans of the Texans were enraged — and for good reason — and to this day, fans still aren’t pleased with the outcome of that trade. The response of trading Hopkins is very reasonable by Houston Texans fans because it isn’t easy for any team to find an All-Pro wide receiver to add to their roster, and the Texans just gave theirs away.
It all comes back to one thing with the trade: Why did O’Brien and the Texans decide to trade Hopkins in the first place? One of the reasons the trade happened, according to O’Brien, was because of a contract issue, as Hopkins still had three years left on his contract but wanted more money.
Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com quoted O’Brien, writing that the Texans head coach spoke to season ticket holders in a recent conference call. O’Brien said the following about the Hopkins trade, as quoted by Barshop:
“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team… We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren’t going to be able to go in that direction.”
This had to be a tough decision to trade Hopkins by O’Brien, right? It is still tough to fathom only getting the return the Texans did receive for Hopkins, as other wide receivers who aren’t on the same level as him were traded for better overall draft picks when their trades occurred.
Take, for example, when the Dallas Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper in a deal with the Raiders. Hopkins is a better overall receiver than Cooper, and it just feels that the Houston Texans should have received higher draft picks for their superstar receiver.
Hopkins has had three straight seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving, and four of the past five years he’s caught for over 1,000 yards in a season, including two seasons of over 1,500 yards. Plus taking away the best offensive weapon that your quarterback has doesn’t seem like the best decision, either.
Maybe the best way to describe the trade last month was that it was rushed. Even if O’Brien and the Houston Texans didn’t believe they could make Hopkins happy by giving him a better contract, why rush a trade?
Also according to Barshop in quoting O’Brien in the aforementioned ESPN article, the Texans head coach/general manager also said this:
“We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can’t wait to get started.”
Did the offer really involve picks, because the Texans only gained one draft pick — the 40th overall selection— and exchanged fourth-round picks for this year and next year? Again, maybe what the Texans received for trading Hopkins was the best offer, but a first-round pick should have been the final result, as there was still multiple years left on the contract of Hopkins.
Maybe if the Houston Texans would have been more patient with Hopkins, the Texans would still have Hopkins on the roster, and the duo of Deshaun Watson-to-Hopkins would still be a thing.
Instead, the Texans have a “hungry running back” in Johnson who is capable of having success, but no superstar wide receiver, and a quarterback in Watson who was tweeting out song lyrics that had folks talking about another possible trade.
Many emotions and opinions have been involved in the aftermath of the Hopkins trade. Even if the Texans and O’Brien are standing pat with their decision, the Houston Texans still have a lot to prove to show they are a better team without Hopkins on their side, and that O’Brien did, in fact, make the best decision for the franchise.