Report: Money the ultimate factor in DeAndre Hopkins being moved to the Cardinals
Patrick D. Starr
With the Houston Texans fan base still processing what exactly took place last week for the organization to trade wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, Albert Breer on MMQB on SI.com tried to explain the situation in more detail.
There have been reports since the trade took place that head coach Bill O'Brien and Hopkins did not see eye to eye, which appears to be a common theme these days. Also, that Hopkins was looking for an extension or adjustment to his current contract that has three remaining years of his deal.
The Philadelphia Eagles were involved in trade talks for Hopkins with the Texans. ESPN's Adam Schefter discussed the Eagles' involvement on 97.5 The Fanatic (Philadelphia) regarding them backing out of trade talks.
Breer said on the following on The Fanatic,
"The Texans did speak to the Eagles at one point about DeAndre Hopkins Schefter said. And I think the Eagles decided at this point in this time, with everything that you were going to have to do, you were going to have to pay the Texans, you were going to have to pay Hopkins a new contract, give up compensation."
"I think they decided that that wasn't the right move. Now, I don't know if that's because this is maybe the deepest draft at wide receiver there is ever, or if they liked what they had, or if they had other ideas in mind. I don't know why. But for whatever reason, I think they believe it wasn't worth it. So, they did have conversations there."
With all of that said, the Texans, according to Breer, had underlying reasons to move Hopkins to the Cardinals.
The Texans are attempting to make offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL, and Deshaun Watson's contract is coming due. That is part of the reason why Jadeveon Clowney was moved before the start of the 2019 season due to financial demands.
Money is the driving factor in all of this for the Hopkins and the Texans. Even in the Cardinals press-release announcing they traded for Hopkins, they acknowledged that stating in their article, "He reportedly wants a raise and new contract – a topic that would likely had been known to the Cards prior to a deal."
Hopkins reportedly wants an increase on his contract in line with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones is currently pulling in $22 million a year compared to Hopkins' $13.305 average over the final three years of his contract.
Hopkins has outperformed his contract, which leads to the bigger issue at hand, give him what he wants in a contract adjustment or move on from him. The Texans took the option of moving on from Hopkins.
Also, Breer compares the Hopkins situation Antonio Brown leaving Pittsburgh for Oakland in a trade that netted a third and fifth-round selection. Brown not only was at odds with his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but he was angling for a new contract that he landed after the trade.
As far as we know from the season, Hopkins was not making it known that he wanted out of Houston to the public, and the contract situation did not show up until "after" the trade was completed.
Both Brown and Hopkins might have taken different paths to ultimately get what they wanted in the long run, which is a new contract. The compensation is right in line between the two deals.
Breer discussed Hopkins practice habits with the Texans as being an issue with the Texans. According to Breer, "There was friction with Hopkins inside the organization, and really it had everything to do with Monday-to-Saturday. On Sundays, he was exemplary. The rest of the week, his practice habits (he didn't practice much at all) became a problem..."
Looking at past injury reports, Hopkins was listed on it for ribs, thumb, illness, and not injury-related. Hopkins missed the opening day of practice in weeks four and five designated as not-injury related and missed the opening practice in week 16 with an illness. Scattered throughout the season Hopkins with limited practices meaning he took part in portions of the weekly workout.
Either the Texans did an excellent job of keeping Hopkins' poor practice habits under the radar with the injury reports, or this could be another situation that needs a further explanation for clarity.
Money is the ultimate factor in the entire Hopkins situation, and there will be discussions on friction, practice habits, production, and whatever else comes out in the coming months.
The critical issue for the Texans is if they ejected from Hopkins too soon in the contract. Did the Texans move Hopkins too fast after learning from last seasons' fallen value of Jadeveon Clowney by the time they traded him? Possibly, the idea if the word had gotten out around the league that Hopkins wanted a contract bump, that could hurt his value later down the road.
The Texans hedged their bets on pulling the trigger when no one expected it and has sent the morale of the fan base spiraling after news spread the offenses most consistent players were no longer part of the plans heading into 2020.
For the Texans' sake, they better hope they made the right decision and have a contingency plan for trading Hopkins heading into the coming season.
If not, it could become the lowest time in franchise history.
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