Texans fans, after DeAndre Hopkins’ painful departure, the team should at least restructure O’Brien’s contract with two key restrictions. Read on for more.
For Houston Texans fans, the last week or so has been anything but encouraging. A bombshell trade hit the sports world announcing that wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, will head to the Arizona Cardinals for what Hall of Famer-turned-analyst Michael Irvin referred to as a “ham sandwich.”
In Hopkins’ time in Houston, the 27-year-old offensive threat averaged over 13 yards per reception, 1,220-plus receiving yards per season, and missed only two out of 110 regular-season games. That’s right: two out of 110—good for a 98 percent rate of reliably taking the field and proving himself durable and dependable.
If Texans’ head coach/general manager, Bill O’Brien, did not like Hopkins’ level of practice participation, that stat alone gets the last word. Hopkins knew his body best. Obviously, the numbers prove Hopkins prioritized having his body ready—not unnecessarily beat up or fatigued from drills in practice—to help his team the best he could on game day. Now, with big shoes to fill in Hopkins’ absence, Will Fuller, known for his blazing speed, has only played in roughly 65 percent of his regular-season games as a Texan.
Hopkins was a beloved player most Houston fans would have wanted to see retire as a Texan. And not only that—Hopkins was arguably the best player on the team, possibly the best receiver in the entire NFL, and a three-time All-Pro over the last three seasons.
Not every Texans’ draft pick has featured J.J. Watt or Andre Johnson post-selection dynamite, but the draft pick for Hopkins certainly did. And perhaps most painfully for Texans fans, Hopkins’ illustrious career is on a possible course now outside of Houston for him to be enshrined in Canton as a Hall-of-Famer.
To put it more simply, for hurting Texans fans feeling betrayed by this trade, “You can’t spell hope without ‘Hop.’” Case in point, last season, Hopkins stood as the wild card representing that small sliver of hope for the Texans to leave Arrowhead Stadium victorious in the divisional round against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs—an effort in which he contributed 118 receiving yards. All throughout his time as a Texan, Hopkins gave O’Brien’s tired playbook a puncher’s chance.
Various reports have surfaced that O’Brien allegedly conducted the trade because Hopkins wanted a lucrative contract, or even because O’Brien’s behavior might have caused Hopkins to feel unwelcome to continue his career as a Houston Texan. At present, the truth may not all be clear.