The Arizona Cardinals have had what most would call a great offseason.
Mike Sando of The Athletic talked with some NFL executives about what the each team did this offseason and the astonishment of the Arizona Cardinals trade with the Houston Texans was something to see.
Executives were mystified by the trade because the team was able to include David Johnson and his full contract:
“It is amazing in the NFL that some trades are so lopsided still,” an exec said. “The Hopkins thing was a joke. How the David Johnson contract was included in the deal just astounds me.”
“On that one, it was like, ‘Wait, who is getting what picks here?’” this exec said. “On this one, Arizona was basically screwed on the David Johnson contract and Houston just bailed them out.”
That’s the thing. As much as giving away DeAndre Hopkins for a second round pick is not smart, most expect Hopkins will be only playing at an elite level for 2-3 more seasons and he wants an extension. So, that didn’t bother people as much as the inclusion of David Johnson.
Bailout is what executives are saying, as the cash strapped Cardinals could never have done a deal with the Texans without including Johnson, so why would the Texans allow Johnson to be included and take his whole salary on?
That’s where people just can’t wrap their head around things:
“You have to give Arizona the win just on the historical production even though they would probably tell you Hopkins is not going to produce that way, at that level, for the length of the contract if he does get an extension,” an exec said. “The ability to get out from Johnson, I can’t recall if another one like that exists, where a team acquired a high-level player and also was able to divest itself of a negative contract.”
This all seems to pile on Johnson the player, but the reality is more it is Johnson’s contract. He can still be a good running back, but at the cost he has to be an All Pro. And the Texans allowed it to be part of a trade that sent an All Pro packing.
No matter how you slice it, the Cardinals won the Hopkins deal in the short term and likely will benefit the most in the long run.