1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Texans trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for David Johnson

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by J.R., Mar 16, 2020.

  1. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Messages:
    17,634
    Likes Received:
    19,134
    So, this makes me wonder if DW and Hop had words before his departure.
     
    BigShasta likes this.
  2. zeeshan2

    zeeshan2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    36,954
    Likes Received:
    29,163
  3. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    90,662
    Likes Received:
    105,505
  4. Nimo

    Nimo Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,392
    Likes Received:
    7,055
    Let's not act like he didn't have Hoyer and Osweiller throwing him passes before the last two seasons.
     
    dmoneybangbang and TEXNIFICENT like this.
  5. Nimo

    Nimo Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,392
    Likes Received:
    7,055
    What makes you think that? When asked who have been best teammates to him, Watson has said Hopkins and Matthieu. And he said this after both left the Texans.
     
  6. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Messages:
    17,634
    Likes Received:
    19,134
    The last tweet mentioning the 24-0 tweet? I have grown tired of the org and havent followed as much lately, so I figured him mentioning Mahomes, he was throwing shade at DW.

    I remember seeing them off the field many times at parties and what not, so I dont know.
     
    raining threes likes this.
  7. Nimo

    Nimo Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,392
    Likes Received:
    7,055
    I don't see how that was throwing shade at Deshaun. That was more "this guy is good and deserves this money. He's so good, he whooped us this bad". I don't see how this is shade at any specific person on the Texans.
     
    red5rocket, YOLO and raining threes like this.
  8. zeeshan2

    zeeshan2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    36,954
    Likes Received:
    29,163
  9. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    90,662
    Likes Received:
    105,505


    How the Texans move forward without DeAndre Hopkins will largely define Bill O’Brien’s tenure as the franchise’s general manager. It’ll also serve as a case study for the rest of the league.

    Sure, most head coaches don’t double as GMs and have rocky relationships with star receivers. And many teams have more draft capital than the Texans, who are lacking in that area after trading for left tackle Laremy Tunsil. But at the heart of the Hopkins deal, there was a complicated question that others will face as the quarterback market keeps rising and a pass-happy college game develops tons of talented receivers.

    When a team has an elite and soon-to-be expensive QB who is supposed to elevate those around him, is it worth also investing in a top-of-the-market wideout?

    Despite the unfavorable reputation O’Brien has developed as a general manager, football experts from various backgrounds — scouting, analytics and salary cap-focused — say there’s reason to believe the answer is no.

    The value the Texans got back in the Hopkins trade remains underwhelming, but in a vacuum, at least, perhaps O’Brien has a point. Maybe an elite quarterback such as Watson can narrow the gap between a top-end receiver and Houston’s assortment of new weapons, allowing the team to spread out its resources.

    “The Texans are making the gamble that some of Hopkins’ greatness is because of Watson, and some of (Brandin) Cooks’ lack of being great is Jared Goff,” Pro Football Focus data scientist Eric Eager said. “So maybe Watson can squeeze those (receivers’) values together. I’m a big believer in Watson, so that’s not a terrible hypothesis.”

    According to league sources, Hopkins seeks a new deal worth at least $20 million annually. Becoming the highest-paid player at his position requires securing more than the $22 million per year that Julio Jones got with his latest extension. If there’s one receiver Eager would give that money to, it’s Hopkins, who ranks in the top two among non-quarterbacks in PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric since 2015. O’Brien himself has said, “I don’t think you replace Hopkins.”

    But even in Hopkins’ best year, 2018, he accounted for about one win. Watson, in each of the past two seasons, has approximately doubled that, which speaks to his position’s outsized impact.

    This difference in values plays out in the market. Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year extension just raised the bar for elite quarterbacks, whose price continues to climb. But at receiver, salary cap expert Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap said second and third options have recently experienced bigger gains than No. 1 receivers, many of whom are bunched together at around $16 million annually. Modern schemes make flawed receivers with an elite skill — such as Texans receiver Will Fuller’s speed — extremely valuable, so the floor rises faster than the ceiling.

    “If you invest too much money in one player, you end up with a diminished wide receiver corps,” Fitzgerald said, “and on a game-by-game basis, if you look at these teams, there are big games had by everybody.”

    Texans 2019 receiving corps

    Player | Receptions | Yards/Route | Share of Cap
    DeAndre Hopkins | 104 | 1.99 | 6.60%
    Will Fuller | 49 | 2.03 | 1.50%
    Kenny Stills | 40 | 1.5 | 3.80%
    Keke Coutee | 22 | 1.1 | 0.40%

    O’Brien has restocked the offense with, as he puts it, “layers and layers of productive players.” But the ones he’s targeted — Cooks, running back David Johnson and slot receiver Randall Cobb — have undercut the argument that the Texans would save money by trading away Hopkins.

    Of those three, only Cobb has significant guaranteed money attached to his deal past this year, but the team has gone from 24th to seventh in overall offensive spending and fifth to third at receiver while remaining in second place at running back. And considering the injury histories of Cooks and Fuller, as well as the fact Cobb is entering his 30s, durability seems to be more of a concern for the Houston receiving corps than it was when it had Hopkins, who has never missed a game aside from two meaningless Week 17 contests.

    So why not just pay Hopkins instead? Because O’Brien believes paying top-of-the-market prices for three offensive players would’ve made his team too top-heavy, and with an improvising quarterback to protect, he valued the left tackle over the receiver.

    These are the sorts of choices teams face when they transition away from the best bargain in sports, a good QB on a rookie contract.

    “Each team has to do the right thing for their team,” Texans executive vice president for football operations Jack Easterby said, before alluding to how an expensive quarterback affects the team’s calculus. “I think what happens is sometimes your team changes within your own players’ development. And I think that Coach (O’Brien) had great wisdom to make sure that we were evolving with our own team.”

    Texans 2020 positional spending

    Position | Cap Hit | Rank
    RB | $17.23M | 2
    WR | $36.19M | 3
    IDL | $29.39M | 9
    OL | $43.96M | 11
    LB | $28.52M | 11
    CB | $17.59M | 16
    S | $9.27M | 20
    Edge | $16.84M | 21
    TE | $6.71M | 24
    QB | $9.69M | 24

    Elsewhere in the AFC, the Super Bowl champion Chiefs are trying a different strategy: running it back. With the recent extensions they handed Mahomes and defensive lineman Chris Jones, they have seven players who are among the five highest-paid at their position, by far the league’s highest concentration. Kansas City is also the first team to ever have three players making more than $20 million per year: Mahomes, Jones and defensive lineman Frank Clark.

    The sustainability of this will become clear in future years, when Kansas City will face tough decisions about what to do with its other stars, including receiver Tyreek Hill, whose current contract pays him $18 million per year. But Aaron Schatz, editor of the analytics site Football Outsiders, thinks if another team were to go this route, the Texans would’ve been a reasonable choice. Offense has proven to be more consistent year-to-year, so giving more than $20 million annually to a few elite, reliable players at key offensive positions might have been money well spent.

    After all, Schatz points out, receivers never come up in discussions about which positions are less valuable. And despite being one of the leaders in football’s analytics movement, he doesn’t know of any research on whether it’s more efficient to spread resources out around an elite quarterback.

    “It’s an interesting question: What’s better? A 20 and a 2? Or a 16 and a 6?” Schatz said. “What the numbers are for two receivers depends on how the quarterback tries to use those guys. How is Watson going to distribute the ball between Cooks and Cobb? How is that different from how he would distribute between Hopkins and (Keke) Coutee?”

    With three years left on Hopkins’ current deal, Houston could’ve tried to restructure his contract to keep him for another year or called his bluff on a potential holdout, which comes with greater consequences for players under the new CBA. But the Texans, wary of the optics of a standoff with such a productive player, instead chose to act quickly and dealt him in a trade market that appeared weakened by his contract demands.

    As Houston moves on, other teams — in the face of a potentially flat or declining cap because of the coronavirus pandemic — are preparing to endure the consequences of keeping a star receiver at a top-of-the-market price. During the 2021 season, the Falcons are currently set to assign a projected 29.7 percent of their cap space to Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan. And in Dallas, receiver Amari Cooper — who recently signed a five-year, $100 million deal — will eat up a projected 10.2 percent of the cap in 2021, when quarterback Dak Prescott will presumably return on a contract that’s more expensive annually than the $31.4 million franchise tag he’ll play on this year.
     
    raining threes likes this.
  10. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    90,662
    Likes Received:
    105,505
    The most-expensive QB-WR combos

    QB/WR Duo | Share of 2020 Cap
    Tom Brady/Mike Evans | 21%
    Dak Prescott/Amari Cooper | 19.90%
    Matt Ryan/Julio Jones | 19.50%
    Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams | 18.70%
    Kirk Cousins/Adam Theilen | 17.10%
    Drew Brees/Michael Thomas | 15.40%

    Assuming the QB market continues on its upward trend, teams lucky enough to have an elite receiver will have to decide whether they want to follow paths similar to Dallas and Atlanta, and those with solid draft capital — unlike the Texans, who tend to deal picks for players — might feel inclined not to.

    Why? Because the most recent draft, considered one of the best ever for receivers, could be the new normal, not an outlier.

    “I’d be a little hesitant to throw top-of-the-market money at a wide receiver when the college game is producing wide receivers like never before, and that trend is never going to change,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who previously worked as a scout. “That goes down to high school, 7-on-7 and colleges, where everyone is playing the spread, four wide receivers on the field at the same time.”

    The swelling talent pool won’t turn receivers into the new running backs, who have left teams with regrets after signing big contracts and are far easier to find in the back half of the draft. But Jeremiah believes paying at the top of the market for receivers will make the most sense for teams with quarterbacks on rookie deals, such as Arizona, which has second-year pro Kyler Murray, and Buffalo, which dealt a first-round pick and more to pair receiver Stefon Diggs with the unproven Josh Allen.

    “It helps to have one as you have a brand new young quarterback because that’s a huge asset to them,” Jeremiah said. “You can have a veteran receiver elevate the play of a young quarterback. But as the quarterback becomes established, you can have him elevate the play of people around him. It kind of flips.”

    None of this means the Texans got tremendous value in the Hopkins trade. They still might have been better off trying to keep him for another year, before Watson’s salary rises significantly. But Houston faced a cap conundrum, one other teams might also confront as the quarterback market grows and talented receivers multiply.

    It’s a tough problem to solve, but a good one to have. The Texans are in this position, in part, because their young quarterback has proven worthy of a megadeal. Now O’Brien must show he picked the best path forward.
     
    raining threes likes this.
  11. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    See, the thing is if the Texans did decide that the star WR isn't worth the money, and they decide to use their money to spend on defense and offensive line to protect Watson and rely on Watson's abilities to make mediocre receivers great, that would be a sensible plan. But they are spending the 2nd most money on running backs and 3rd most money on receivers. They didn't actually save any money by trading away Hopkins. They just replaced him with Brandin Cooks.

    The Texans still have basically no defense and their line is still suspect outside of Tunsil. They still believe in paying receivers. There's no argument for the trade from a positional value standpoint. Clearly BOB just hates Hopkins. Perhaps it's justified and perhaps we are all wrong and the Texans will have the bestest locker room this year and Watson will become MVP without Hopkins messing with his mind or something. I wouldn't know anything about that. But at least call it what it is. BOB traded Hopkins for personal reasons cause the Texans sure has no coherent teambuilding plan as a follow up to that trade.
     
  12. raining threes

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    6,560
    Likes Received:
    3,372
    After this season they have very little guaranteed money owed to DJ/Cooks. Hopefully Blacklock will help with one of the greatest deficiencies on the defense. Interior pass rush.
     
    joshuaao likes this.
  13. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Given that Hopkins has zero guaranteed money on his contract, they can have as little money as they want if they had not made the trade. There is absolutely no financial benefit to the trade no matter how you slice it.
     
  14. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    48,829
    Likes Received:
    34,810
    That belt is gansta AF.
     
  15. raining threes

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    6,560
    Likes Received:
    3,372
    I think you're onto something about why Nuk didn't want to play with the Texans anymore and forced a trade.
     
  16. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Well seems like he is pretty happy with his zero guaranteed money on the Cardinals.

    Hey, maybe, just maybe, his coach just didnt like him
     
  17. raining threes

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    6,560
    Likes Received:
    3,372
    Rumor is he's going to get the extension he's been looking for.
     
  18. body slam

    body slam Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Messages:
    2,729
    Likes Received:
    880
    I'm liking this trade more and more each day.
     
  19. Nimo

    Nimo Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,392
    Likes Received:
    7,055
    No matter how much people want to tell us Hopkins was going to be upset if he stayed a Texan with no new deal, he still would have stayed, played, and balled.



    The whole "they had to take less because of his contract situation" is either BS or just horrible negotiation. They should have held their ground and gotten more in return.
     
    conquistador#11 likes this.
  20. htownbball

    htownbball Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,467
    Likes Received:
    431
    Well the Jets got a ransom for a publicly disgruntled player who wanted a trade and a new contract...
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now