HOUSTON - Eight years into his NFL career and DeAndre Hopkins is considered by many as the top receiver in the game. Finally working with a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, "Nuk" exploded every receiving record in Houston Texans history, finishing with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Then, in an instant, he was gone from the Texans. Worst of all? Hopkins still hasn't forgotten his final moment in a battle red jersey.
Hopkins fired back at the Texans organization following a tweet from the Arizona Cardinals social media account. In the "trade heard around the world," the All-Pro was shipped out west for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round selection.
Is that all the Texans could have gotten for a talent such as his? If not, they certainly are the losers — and Hopkins wants Houston to remember it.
In his first season working with Kyler Murray, Hopkins was on point once more. He finished second in the NFL with 115 catches to go with 1,407 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. The Cardinals finished 8-8 on the year, their first .500-plus season since 2017.
Houston was unable to find balance on either side of the ball. The team fired acting general manager and head coach Bill O'Brien following a 0-4 start. Meanwhile, the team finished 4-12 on the year, finishing third in the AFC South.
Surprisingly, Watson thrived without Hopkins on offense. The 25-year-old set a new franchise record in passing touchdowns with 33 scores while leading the league in passing with 4,823 passing yards.
Imagine if Hopkins remained on the roster?
The Texans are entering a rebuilding phase — one that could exclude Watson should he be moved this offseason. Hopkins and the Cardinals are looking to make the jump in the NFC West conversation and further contention.
For Houston, Ross Blacklock, the defensive tackle selected with the Cardinals pick, should his best to hope for a revival season, because he's all but taking the spot of an All-Pro talent.
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