Looking back at the David Johnson trade now that he's retired

David Johnson is now retired, so we're looking back at that infamous trade for him.
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans / Frederick Breedon/GettyImages

The Houston Texans made a bold trade in 2020 to send DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2020 fourth-round pick. It was a trade that was lampooned and lambasted by anyone and everyone. Everyone but Bill O'Brien was done dealing with Hopkins. It doesn't hurt that Hopkins wanted out of Houston, and so off he went to the Cardinals to play with Kyler Murray.

It was a trade that at the time was seen as highway robbery, especially when those picks were made. The Texans drafted defensive tackle Ross Blacklock and cornerback John Reid. Neither turned out to be anything. The Cardinals also got a fourth-round pick in the trade, a pick that didn't matter to them in the long run either.

So it was essentially a player-for-player trade, Johnson for Hopkins, and as it turns out, both teams ended up losing. Hopkins had just one good year with Arizona before being suspended for PEDs and then later left the team to go to the Tennessee Titans. The Texans didn't get much more out of Johnson, who did post his third-best season of his career with the Texans, but flamed out shortly thereafter.

He wasn't the same All-Pro running back he used to be in 2016. Injuries sapped him of his skills and athleticism, resulting in him becoming a shell of his former self. Still, the Texans were apparently so eager to get off of Hopkins that they took Johnson on regardless of whether it was a fair trade or not.

They did need a running back, however, and were willing to take anyone they could, no matter how broken down. So they picked Johnson of all people. Maybe O'Brien thought he could resurrect the backs' glory days or maybe he just disliked Hopkins so much that he didn't care what he got back for the wide receiver.

Still, Johnson wasn't impressive. He barely put together a competent first season before fading away entirely throughout his second with the club. The only reason we don't talk about how bad this trade truly was is simply due to how bad the Cardinals were following it.

Hopkins, to his credit, would bounce back with the Titans and post his first 1,000 season in a few years but he's no longer what he once was. Maybe that decline was coming before the trade. Maybe O'Brien knew that Hopkins wasn't the same type of player anymore and maybe that's why he got traded. Who knows, but at the end of the day this will go down as one of the worst trades that both teams made.

One wasn't able to capitalize on the assets they had, and the other just failed to make the most of the time they had with an elite player.