The Houston Texans dropped a Nuk-bomb, shaking up a playoff roster with a blockbuster trade.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Texans are shipping star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, per a source informed of the deal.
Houston is also sending a fourth-round pick to Arizona in exchange for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
It’s a massive deal that has widespread repercussions.
The Cardinals picked up one of the best receivers in football to pair with Larry Fitzgerald and rising wideout Christian Kirk. Arizona headed into the offseason looking to add a stud wideout to the group. Most figured they’d pluck one from the draft. Instead, Arizona added one of the best veteran pass-catchers in the entire NFL.
Just heard from Larry Fitzgerald about acquisition of Hopkins. He said: "Excited to play with one of the best in the business. Also happy for David to get a fresh start so he can get back to his all pro potential."
In seven seasons in Houston, Nuk compiled 8,602 receiving yards, including five years over the 1,100-yard receiving mark. He was Deshaun Watson’s go-to receiver and a third-down menace. For a team that has struggled to stay healthy at wideout outside of Hopkins, replacing him will be difficult in Houston. The Texans’ current receiver corps is led by Kenny Stills and Will Fuller.
Houston’s loss is Kyler Murray’s gain in Arizona.
After making a slew of trades last year siphoned of their draft capital, it’s likely O’Brien viewed Hopkins as the team’s best tradable asset. In return, he got two picks, including a second-rounder.
Houston also found a running back and relieved the Cardinals of an onerous contract.
The Texans needed backfield help with both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller set to hit free agency. The Texans watched Hyde morph from an afterthought into their lead 1,000-yard back. The bet is O’Brien thinks he can do the same with the dual-threat David Johnson.
Since signing his big-money deal in 2018, the 28-year-old running back has lived in Strugglesville. In 2018, he lacked pop coming off a wrist injury, earning just 3.6 yards per carry on 258 totes. Last season, despite Kliff Kingsbury taking over, Johnson could never find the juice as he dealt with injury and ineffective play.
Watching Kenyan Drake explode in Kingsbury’s offense underscored Johnson’s struggles. His contract, however, was considered too inconvenient to move. Arizona, however, found a willing partner in Houston.
The trade of Johnson adds further context to the Cardinals’ decision to use the transition tag on Drake. The estimated $8.4 million tender gives Arizona the right to match any offer Drake receives.
Playing in the best division in football, Arizona now sports an offense with Murray, Hopkins, Fitzgerald, Kirk, and possibly Drake. That’s some hellish toys Kingsbury can play with.
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