In a flurry of activity Monday that began with the Arizona Cardinals placing a transition tag on running back Kenyan Drake, multiple reports said the Cardinals and Houston Texans have agreed to a trade that will send running back David Johnson to Houston for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
As part of the deal that will not become official until the league year begins at 1 p.m. PT Wednesday, the Cardinals are sending a second-round pick this year (40th overall) and a fourth-round choice in 2021 to Houston, while receiving a fourth-round pick this year in return. The Texans will have two choices in that round, their own at No. 131 overall and one they acquired from Miami (No. 111). It is likely that the pick included in the deal is their own.
The addition of Hopkins provides a true game-changer for second-year Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and he joins a group that already includes Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.
Hopkins has been All-Pro the last three seasons and during those years combined for 315 receptions for 4,115 yards (13.0 average) and 31 touchdowns. His 13 scores led the league in 2017. In his seven-year career, Hopkins has missed just two games and has 632 receptions for 8,602 yards (13.6 average) and 54 touchdowns.
Word from Houston is that he was not happy about his contract, which has no guaranteed money remaining. He signed a five-year extension in August, 2017, but all of the $49 million in guarantees have been paid. For the final three seasons of the deal (2020-2022), he is scheduled to be paid $12.5 million, $13.5 million and 13.9 million, a total just under $40 million. It is expected that at the least the Cardinals will guarantee some of the remaining money and potentially do that in a signing or roster bonus that would be paid soon.
The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Hopkins will turn 28 on June 6.
The Texans have reportedly agreed to pay the entire $10.2 million in guaranteed base salary that is due to Johnson for 2020. The Cardinals will have dead money of $6 million in remaining signing bonus proration on their cap for Johnson, who rushed for just 345 yards in 13 games last season.
*Watch the accompanying film review and analysis of Hopkins by former NFL scout Marc Lillibridge via his Bridge’s Breakdown.*