Houston Texans' Bill O'Brien defends DeAndre Hopkins trade: 'We think about the future'
Houston Texans coach and general manager Bill O'Brien discussed his team's trade of DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson in a conference call for season ticket holders of the team on Friday.
O'Brien and the Texans have received a lot of criticism for the deal, which sent Hopkins and a fourth-round pick in 2020 to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.
O'Brien said the trade was in the "best interest" of the Texans during the call. He also praised Johnson.
"I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team," O'Brien said, via ESPN. "DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren't going to be able to go in that direction. We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can't wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team."
He continued: "There's a lot of things that go into trades. Lot of thoughts that go in. How much are you going to take on contractually? How much does it take to buy that second-round pick, that No. 40 pick? 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?"
Earlier this week, NFL executives slammed O'Brien and Texans for the move in a scathing piece in The Athletic.
“It is amazing in the NFL that some trades are so lopsided still,” an executive said, according to The Athletic's Mike Sando. “The Hopkins thing was a joke. How the David Johnson contract was included in the deal just astounds me.”
"Arizona was basically screwed on the David Johnson contract and Houston just bailed them out," he said, according to Sando.
In Hopkins, the Cardinals are getting one of the league’s best receivers for virtually a song.
Hopkins is a three-time, first-team All-Pro who has averaged 90 receptions, 1,229 receiving yards and eight touchdowns a season since entering the league in 2013. He had 104 catches for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last year. He’s eclipsed 100 receptions or more three times in his career and has posted 1,000 or more receiving yards five times, including each of the last three seasons.
Johnson had just 1,306 yards and averaged just 3.6 yards per carry over the past three seasons.
O'Brien said that the team makes its decisions with the team in mind.
"Capital T capital E capital A capital M," O'Brien said, via ESPN. "Everything that we do is made with the team in mind. We don't think about one player. ... We think about the future."
"We're excited about where we're at, and we're excited about where we're headed," O'Brien continued. "And I know it's hard right now because there's a lot of noise out there, but there are a lot of things that are going on in our organization that make us feel very excited about the upcoming season."
O'Brien's comments on the trade didn't appear to be received well.
Many fans blasted his explanation on social media.
The Big Lead's Ryan Phillips wrote that his comments somehow made things even worse.
"I'm not sure how trading one of the NFL's best receivers and not getting top-tier draft compensation in return is in the best interest of the team, but sure," Phillips wrote. "Texans CEO Cal McNair lauded O'Brien's work this offseason and believes the team has gotten better. Maybe, but Houston's receiving corps is demonstrably worse. The team's top wideouts are the perpetually injured Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and an aging, overpriced Randall Cobb. Who is Deshaun Watson supposed to throw to? The Hopkins trade to the Cardinals was the worst the NFL has seen in a while. Especially considering the haul of picks the Minnesota Vikings got from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Stefon Diggs. Oh, and to make things worse, the Texans don't have a first round pick in either of the next two drafts, so replacing Hopkins will be that much more difficult. O'Brien should never have been allowed to take over the general manager role in Houston. And, frankly, he should be fired for how he's bungled the roster over the last 18 months."