Texans’ O’Brien to unhappy fans: Let the DeAndre Hopkins trade play out
On one side of the coin, you have the Arizona Cardinals fanbase which is still pinching itself that GM Steve Keim pulled a rabbit out of the hat in acquiring DeAndre Hopkins this offseason.
Then you flip it over and there sit Houston Texans fans, who are stuck under a dark cloud after seeing arguably their best player head to the Valley in return for a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.
In a video conference with Houston reporters on Friday, however, Texans head coach and GM Bill O’Brien doubled down on his decision to send the All-Pro packing for a running back relegated to the bench in 2019.
“I’ve known [Cardinals GM] Steve Keim for a lot of years. Steve’s a Pennsylvania guy,” O’Brien said. “When I was at Penn State, he and I got to know each other and obviously being in the NFL. He was very emphatic that David passed his exit physical at the end of the year and obviously with us we wanted our own doctor or a doctor that was close to [the team doctor].
“… When you go back to the Laremy Tunsil-Kenny Stills trade, that was about 150-200 phone calls. … Steve Keim, you’re talking about another 100 calls where you’re talking about a lot of different things, including the health of DeAndre, not just David.”
The injury history of the two athletes is on two different wavelengths. There’s Hopkins, who has missed two games in seven seasons, compared to Johnson, who’s missed 18 games over the last three seasons.
But like O’Brien told reporters, no trade is the same. Each one is unique unto itself and the Hopkins-Johnson swap was no outlier.
For O’Brien, it wasn’t just about the return he was receiving for the wideout. It was also about finding that one team that could not only afford Hopkins in 2020, but later down the road before he began negotiating.
“We feel very, very good to be able to get the 40th pick, being able to get David Johnson,” O’Brien said. “We feel really good about it when we looked at the analytics of it based on the production that was leaving our team and the production we are bringing in.”
When you look at the trade on paper, it appears the Cardinals won by a mile. The Cardinals gave up a running back who was looking at potentially a third-string role for a WR who routinely surpasses the 1,000-yard mark with ease.
O’Brien isn’t putting much stock into that because he believes that while fans have criticized the move, there’s still much to be done before the start of the season. This was just a big stepping stone and the head coach/GM doesn’t want those to rush to judgement without a single game being played.
“Again, it’s very incomplete, we have several roster moves left to go, we have the draft and all those things so we feel very good about the value we got for the trade,” O’Brien said.
“I think the best thing I could tell the fans is … I think we need to let it all play out. Let it play out, let it all play out, whether it’s that trade or anything else that we’ve done. Let’s review it a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. Let’s let it all play out.”