The NFL offseason has been littered with surprising moves so far. There may be no bigger shock than the DeAndre Hopkins trade.
The Houston Texans dealt perhaps the NFL’s best wide receiver over the last few years to the Arizona Cardinals, for much less than most would have guessed they could get. Arizona sent a second round and fourth round pick, along with oft-injured running back David Johnson in the deal. The Texans send a fourth-roundr in the deal as well.
After the Hopkins trade, the Minnesota Vikings got a first round pick from the Buffalo Bills for Stefon Diggs. Diggs is a good Pro Bowl level player, but few would put him in the same tier as Hopkins, and yet he netted more draft capital for his move. Bill O’Brien, who recently took on general manager duties on top of his work as head coach, has caught serious flak for the move.
The trade led to some pretty nasty speculation about the relationship between DeAndre Hopkins and O’Brien. The star wide receiver did his best to downplay most of it. Still, this was not a widely understood move at all from the Houston side of things. Today, O’Brien explained the move to Texans season ticket holders in a town hall-style call.
Bill O'Brien: 'It was in the best interest of our team. DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player. We loved DeAndre Hopkins He had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team.'
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 3, 2020
Hopkins signed a new five-year extension with Houston in 2017, worth $81 million. He has just under $40 million left on the deal, though the guaranteed money, including a giant signing bonus at the front end, has been paid out according to Spotrac.
Of course, Arizona probably doesn’t have any immediate plans to let the superstar wideout go, if his production stays where it has been. Last year’s 104 catch, 1,165 yard, seven touchdown season was statistically among the three or four worst of his career. He was still a First-Team All-Pro.