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Bill O’Brien: DeAndre Hopkins trade to Cardinals in Texans’ best interest

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Arizona Cardinals have been widely regarded as one of the winners of the offseason.

Turning David Johnson — his contract — and a second-round pick into an All-Pro wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals and GM Steve Keim made a cannonball of a splash, earning high praise from around the NFL.

The same can’t be said for the Texans, who seemingly gave away their best player and a draft pick for a running back who lost his starting job in 2019, a second-round in 2020 and fourth-round pick in 2021.

But if you ask the man behind the trade, Texans head coach and GM Bill O’Brien, there’s a different narrative.

“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said during a season ticket holders town hall meeting on Friday. “DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player for us here. … We love DeAndre Hopkins, but he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. We weren’t going to be able to go in that direction.”

For O’Brien, the decision was simple. The Texans weren’t going to be able to pay the wideout what he wanted so he pulled the trigger with the gamble that the trade will end up in Houston’s favor when the dust settles.

“We felt we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks, it involved an excellent three-down running back who’s hungry and can’t wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team,” O’Brien said.

“There’s a lot that goes into trades. … How much are you going to keep on contractually? … What type of player are you bringing in? What type of player are you losing? And what is in the best interest of the team? Capital T. Capital E. Capital A. Capital M. Every decision we make as long as I’m the football coach here, will always be made in the best interest of the team.”

Ultimately, O’Brien felt the team could not maintain Hopkins and his desire for a new deal, filling a team need at running back with Johnson while acquiring draft picks in the process. But no matter how you spin it, the move looks one-sided on paper.

“There has always been some type of noise,” O’Brien said. “Again, I would just reiterate that we are not trying to win in March. I would just hop our season ticket holders have seen that we’ve won four out of six division championships here. We know how to win.”

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