We thought the Houston Texans' mystifying trade of All Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for aging RB David Johnson and a second-round pick couldn't possibly look any worse, but we were wrong.
Hours later, the Minnesota Vikings sent fellow star WR Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round sweetener to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a first-rounder, fifth-rounder, sixth-rounder and 2021 fourth-rounder. Shortly thereafter, the Texans promised Randall Cobb more than $18 million guaranteed on a three-year deal.
With all due respect to Diggs, one of the game's more dynamic receivers, he's not in the league of Hopkins. Diggs has yet to play a 16-game season in his first five years, while "Nuk" has missed only two games since his 2013 arrival. Hopkins averages nearly a yard more per catch (13.6 to 12.7) and has four seasons with at least 95 catches and/or double-digit touchdowns, compared to one for Diggs. Hopkins has at least 1,000 yard six times eight seasons, with Diggs having done it just the past two seasons.
And again with all due respect, Johnson wouldn't even belong in the conversation if Bill O'Brien hadn't done the absolute unthinkable. Acquiring a 27-year-old running back who hasn't been above 4.0 yards per carry in three years and has a combined cap hit over the next two seasons that's less than $3 million below that of Hopkins, perhaps the game's most consistent receiver outside of New Orleans? Deshaun Watson, the rest of the Texans and their fans deserve better. And lest we forget this is O'Brien's encore after dribbling down his leg their 24-point second-quarter divisional-round lead.
Also lest we forget, O'Brien runs the entire show for Houston after last summer pushing out GM Brian Gaine, coincidentally in the Buffalo front office that acquired Diggs. O'Brien has also spent a third-round pick on a running back (Duke Johnson), two first-rounders on Laremy Tunsil, who remains unsigned, and paid the Seahawks to take Jadeveon Clowney off the Texans' hands, among other horrific personnel decisions.
Juxtapose that with the Vikings, who drafted Diggs in the fifth round and just brought back a treasure trove in return for a player who no longer wanted to be there. There are rumblings that Hopkins and O'Brien couldn't play nice. But imagine thinking after his absurd fake punt and other ridiculous play calls back in January that the Texans coach wasn't the problem. Imagine still thinking that the Texans general manager isn't the problem.
If Diggs no longer wanted to be in Minnesota, it might be fair to wonder how much longer some Texans want to play under O'Brien in Houston. This was really, really inexcusable, and the Texans' window with Watson on his rookie deal is supposed to be closing this offseason. Of course, it's O'Brien who's supposed to be heading those negotiations, along with Tunsil's. What could possibly go wrong?