Presumably if you care about such things you’ve seen the Hail Murray:
Rarely do we see such immediate, definitive results from a huge offseason deal, but then again it is rare to see deals like the Hopkins trade at all. On March 16, as the United States was, uh, busy, the Houston Texans were self-inflicting their own disaster. Head coach-slash-GM Bill O’Brien traded Hopkins to Arizona for the 40th pick in the 2020 draft, a fourth-rounder in 2021, and running back David Johnson. The entire football–media intelligentsia quickly declared the trade a catastrophe for the Texans—after all, how do you ship the best receiver in the game away and not even get a first-round pick in return? Yet somehow, it has worked out even better for the Cardinals than most initially thought, and even worse for the Texans.
The best way to explain how horrible this trade was is that it wasn’t an obvious win for Houston if you leave Hopkins out of it. The 40th pick is a useful although non-premium one. But in exchange for that they got stuck with an injury prone running back coming off three straight seasons of replacement-level play. (And even his good year wasn’t that good, 4.2 Y/A, 11 Y/C. That’s a useful player given Johnson’s high volume of touches, but not Barry Sanders either.) And for production any competent organization could acquire for nothing, the Texans were stuck with $13 million in guaranteed salary and roster bonuses. (Amazingly, this is only a little less than Hopkins got paid last year.) Even granting that the Texans desperately needed to restore some draft capital, I wouldn’t take on one of the worst contracts in football for a mid-second rounder. To then throw in the best wideout in football…this is one of the most indefensible trades I’ve ever seen. (My favorite hockey team actually did this once: give up a superstar in his prime in a trade the team would have lost even if you took the star out of it. And I still remember exactly where I was when I heard about it 29 years later.)
It’s just a tragedy to waste DeShaun Watson like this. But, hey, they might be bringing Romeo Crenell back next year, so that will definitely solve all their problems.