Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was roundly roasted for trading All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for oft-injured running back David Johnson.
Not only did the Texans not receive a first-round pick in return — the 40th pick came back to Houston in that deal — but Houston took on a massive contract for Johnson, who turns 29 in December and has been unable to reproduce his 2016 All-Pro production.
“We feel very, very good about being able to get the 40th pick, being able to get David Johnson,” O’Brien said. “We feel really good about when we looked at the analytics of it, based on the production that was leaving our team and the production that we were bringing in, and then what we were able to do. Again, it’s very incomplete, and we have several roster moves left to go, including a draft and all the other things that I mentioned earlier. So we feel very good about the value that we got from the trade.
“I think the best thing I can tell the fans is to please — because I know the media’s job is to evaluate right away, I get that, I have a lot of respect for the media, I’ve always said that — but I think we have to let it all play out. Let it play out. Let the whole thing play out, whether it’s that trade or anything else that we’ve done. I’d say let’s review it a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. Let’s let it all play out.”
Hopkins turns 28 in June. He has missed two games in his career and tallied 219 total receptions the past two seasons.
Johnson was a third-round pick in 2015, but under a mounting number of injuries, he was supplanted as the starting running back in Arizona by Kenyan Drake in 2019. Johnson is owed $10.2 million in base salary in 2020 with a cap hit of nearly $11.2 million. The Texans are taking on the full salary, along with wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Cooks, who has an $8 million base salary in 2020, was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams, which cost Houston the No. 57 pick in the draft. Cooks has five documented concussions in six NFL seasons and had career lows of 42 catches and two touchdowns in 2019.
O’Brien said “all of that was taken into account” when discussing the deals on Thursday, in a Zoom call ahead of the NFL draft next Thursday. Houston doesn’t have a first-round pick, which was traded to acquire left tackle Laremy Tunsil from the Miami Dolphins last summer.
“David Johnson passed his physical with flying colors,” O’Brien said. “I’ve known Steve Keim for a number of years. He was very emphatic that he passed his exit physical, and we had a doctor close to Dr. Lowe examine David.”
Keim said Wednesday the Hopkins deal was a no-brainer for Arizona because of his ability to take the Cardinals “to the next level.”
–Field Level Media