DeAndre Hopkins has been forced out of Houston, into the hands of Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Hopkins got traded away for David Johnson, a second round pick, and a fourth round pick. This trade is one that will keep people guessing for a long time as to why Bill O´Brien agreed to this. Kyler Murray seemed very excited to be playing with one of the best receivers in the game. In an already tough NFC West, things just got a lot tougher.
Who got the better deal?
Obviously, the Arizona Cardinals won this trade by a long shot. They got rid of the money owed for David Johnson and gave up mid-round picks for one of the best receivers in today’s game. Nobody knows why the Texans were thinking of even making this deal. Deshaun Watson and Mr. Hopkins have had great success in the last couple of years, and, well, it looks like we won’t be able to see that duo in the future.
Is the player worth the money?
Hopkins´ current contract is a five-year, $81 million dollar deal, with $49 million in guaranteed money. Yes, without a doubt, Hopkins is worth the money. He has been selected an All-Pro three times and has been to the Pro Bowl on four occasions. Currently, the NFL does not have many receivers who boast those selections. If Hopkins can turn this Arizona team around, things are going to get a lot more interesting in the NFC.
How the new team will be affected
This blockbuster trade was unexpected and came out of nowhere. This trade obviously makes the Arizona Cardinals a better team. Kyler Murray will have an X-factor to work with on offense, and will no longer have to have pinpoint accuracy when throwing the ball. Arizona had receivers that were average, dealing with injuries throughout the year. Last year, Arizona went 5-10-1. Not so great, but they had a rookie quarterback, who did not have any offensive weapons that could stay healthy. Not to mention a head coach in his first season with the NFL. I think with the addition of D-Hop, Arizona can make some noise in the NFC West.
How the old team will be affected
Well, Houston will not be the same without DeAndre Hopkins. He has made each and every one of their quarterbacks look better, no matter where the ball was thrown. Ever since Hopkins became a Texan, Houston has looked like a contender because of their success, and part of that success was DeAndre. Hopkins and Watson were the future of this team. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins had great chemistry, only looking to get better. Last season, Houston went 10-6, made the playoffs, and then blew a huge lead to the Chiefs in the divisional round. I don’t think things are going to get easier, in fact, things will get harder this year for the Texans. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry will be coming back to the Titans this year, Phillip Rivers has signed with the Colts, and things have gotten a lot more competitive in the AFC South.
Hopkins is rated as a top 5 receiver in fantasy football, and should be getting more targets this year. Last season, Hopkins had a high of 23 points against the Saints and kept consistent throughout the year. Although Hopkins´ fantasy numbers don’t pop out, he can bring some quality points to the table when you need them. This year, I would have Hopkins as my number 2 receiver to draft, behind Michael Thomas. I do have high expectations for Hopkins this year, only because I think he will get more targets, and he is in a better system in AZ.
The NFC West has improved a lot, mainly due to the success of the 49ers. You could argue that last season, three of those teams could have been in the playoffs if the Rams didn’t have so many injuries to deal with. Arizona will have a better year than the last, but I don’t think that they will have enough to go to the playoffs. I think that having to play two games against the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers each is just too much for a young Kyler Murray. Aside from their division, their schedule doesn’t seem too bad. In my opinion, the three hardest teams that they will be playing outside of the NFC West are the Bills, Eagles, and Cowboys. Not too difficult. Although it would be exciting to see Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in the playoffs, it would take a couple of upsets here and there.
This season, I think that the Arizona Cardinals will finish with a record of 8-8. My prediction is that they will start out on a strong run, but once they face the tough teams, the season won’t get any better. I think that Arizona is going to come up close, but short of the playoffs. Overall, the NFC has gotten a lot tougher with Tom Brady heading to Tampa, Teddy Bridgewater going to Carolina, and Dak and Amari Cooper resigning in Dallas. Things are going to get a lot better for Arizona this season, but I think they will have to wait just one more season to get a shot at the Lombardi.
Top picture by Getty Images/Ringer illustration from Sportsillustrated.com