Houston Texans head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien provided an explanation on Friday for his team's blockbuster offseason trade that sent Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
"I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal we felt was in the best interest of our team," O'Brien said on a town hall conference call with season ticket holders, per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. "DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player for us here. We loved DeAndre Hopkins, but he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. We weren't going to be able to go in that direction."
Hopkins and a fourth-round pick were sent to Cardinals for David Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2021 on the first day of the NFL's tampering period. NBC's Peter King hinted about a possible trade ahead of the deal, citing that while Hopkins has three years and $40 million remaining on his contract, he would cause just a $3 million cap hit to the Texans in the event of a trade.
Per Wilson, Hopkins wants a raise up to $19 to $20 million annually from his current $16.2 million average salary.
Hopkins recorded 104 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last season. This past season marked his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. Hopkins, a three-time All-Pro, will turn 28 in June.
Johnson is coming off a season in which he accounted for 715 yards and six touchdowns on 130 total touches. Johnson has two seasons left on the three-year, $39 million extension he inked with Arizona in September 2018.
The running back is owed $10.2 million in base salary in 2020 with a cap hit of nearly $14.2 million. ESPN's Sarah Barshop reported at the time of the deal that the Texans will take on all of Johnson's salary.
"It's important that the focus is the team," Texans CEO and chairman Cal McNair said . "I would think as a fan, I would be really excited that your leadership can make bold moves and can go make the moves that make the team better. It's an exciting time for us."