Instant Reaction Roundtable: DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson Trade

A peek behind the curtain at Footballguys when news broke of the DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson trade

A blockbuster trade shocked the NFL community on Monday, offering a welcome distraction in an otherwise scary week of global news. Read on for a transcript of the chat that took place at Footballguys (virtual) headquarters immediately following this surprise announcement:

Jason Wood: So basically Kliff Kingsbury just swapped David Johnson -- a running back he had benched, is oft-injured, and has a bad contract -- for one of the NFL's five best receivers, who is only 27 years old. UNREAL. Houston proving yet again why teams need a general manager.

Sigmund Bloom: Bill O’Brien is Exhibit A against coach-kings that aren't named Belichick.

Matt Waldman: Even if Johnson has only two good years left, this is awful for Houston, who doesn’t even run the plays Johnson is best at. Plus, I’m not sure their offensive line is equipped to be a strong gap team.

O’Brien might be a better example of the danger in hiring someone associated with a coach-king more than the notion coach-kings are bad ideas.

Sigmund Bloom: That’s fair, Matt. I suppose I should say giving someone coach-king power before they've demonstrated they can use it responsibly is the lesson here.

O’Brien traded away Hopkins, Jadaveon Clowney, and Duane Brown for...what exactly? The mind reels.

Matt Waldman: The big lesson should be owners shopping for the hot name associated with the success of a head coach ahead of the guy with skills to be successful as a head coach. The brand name by association criteria is so incomplete and so readily bandied about as if it is a legit positive. It needs to end.

Dan Hindery: This is truly baffling for the Texans. Johnson’s contract is basically a negative asset that should have come with a draft pick attached.

Justin Howe: I have no words. Jason and Dan are right. Rostering Johnson at his cap number is a net negative. And Houston took it on all for the low low price of Hopkins?

Dan Hindery: This is also an example of why giving up first-round picks for players who almost instantly need a huge extension are typically bad deals. The Texans gave up a ransom for Laremy Tunsil and now have to pay him almost $20M per year. Not only did they trade away their first, but also the ability to pay Hopkins market value.

David Dodds: I’m also shocked. I love the Cardinals offense for 2020. The Texans look like a team sitting out the playoffs.

Joe Bryant: I have to say, the Kingsbury story has been fun to watch. For guys like me who've basically made a career out of doing things they weren't initially qualified for, I love it.

Phil Alexander: I think we can all agree O’Brien and the Texans got pantsed in this deal. But what about the fantasy implications?

I love this deal for:

  • Kyler Murray - For obvious reasons

  • Hopkins - He should lead the league in targets by a mile

  • Kenyan Drake - Arizona is already fertile ground for fantasy running backs and now Hopkins lifts the entire offense. Rocketship emoji for his ADP.

  • Andy Isabella - If whatever kept him off the field last year can be solved, he's the new Will Fuller V. They run enough four wide-sets for Isabella to make an impact, even with a crowded wide receiver corps.

  • David Johnson - At least he has a backfield to himself again and Houston’s offense should produce solid running back production. But don’t forget, O’Brien gave up a third-round pick for Duke Johnson Jr last year. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a platoon, even if Johnson proves he’s back to full health after looking awful last year.

On the flip side:

  • Deshaun Watson - He'll be fine but you can't underestimate the loss of a wide receiver of Hopkins' caliber.

  • Christian Kirk - He made his living on volume last year, but maybe the improved quality of the offense, along with Hopkins commanding so much defensive attention, make the impact neglible.

  • Will Fuller V - More targets are never a bad thing. But without Hopkins hoovering coverage, his job gets more difficult. I'm not sure he's suited to be a team’s WR1.

Drew Davenport: I’m curious about your Hopkins take, Phil. You’re saying you see this as a net positive for him?

Phil Alexander: It’s not like his ceiling can get much higher, but I do prefer the setup in Arizona to what he had in Houston. The Cardinals are a pass-heavy team that runs a ton of plays and Murray is poised to make a leap. What’s not to like?

Drew Davenport: I’m not sure what to think. The pass-heaviness is nice. And so is the offensive philosophy. But it feels like they won’t force him the ball in Arizona the same way they did in Houston. Plus, the other wide receivers in Arizona seem like a bigger threat to elite production. Couple that stuff with the effect of switching teams and he could take a hit. Right now, he feels like the WR10-15 to me. But I haven’t spent any time on it yet.

Phil Alexander: I also haven’t researched it yet, but guys like KeeSean Johnson and Pharaoh Cooper saw way too many looks last year. There is room for Hopkins to see monster volume in Arizona, especially with Larry Fitzgerald in decline.

Dan Hindery: My initial impression is this being a lateral move for Hopkins. Murray gets a solid upgrade, both because of the obvious benefit of adding Hopkins and due to the fact that it frees them up even more for a stud offensive tackle at #=no. 8 overall in the draft.


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