Right. I’m upset with the Texans. As a Dolphins fan, your mess is not for us to tidy up. Nor anybody else in the league. I’ll explain where I’m at with all this, but let’s have a look at how the Texans managed to land themselves in this mess. Warning to Texans fans, the following material is information i’m sure you’re familiar with, but may still sting.
His name is Bill O’Brien. That is all.
A multitude of bad choices
We all know the Deandre Hopkins story. Bill O’Brien tried to defend it. But ultimately, he traded a superstar wide receiver, arguably the best in the league, for a 2nd round pick and David Johnson… who was last good in 2016.
O’Briens defence sounded like this:
“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said Friday on a conference call for Texans season-ticket holders. “DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren’t going to be able to go in that direction. We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can’t wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team.”
Sorry Bill but no. You’ve been proved wrong on all fronts here. You traded away your franchise quarterbacks best weapon, the teams best talent. And you felt like you had a great offer from Arizona? Really? Bill O’Brien might have been the only person that saw any value whatsoever in trading Deandre Hopkins away and getting David Johnson in return.
So okay let’s make the point that teams wouldn’t be willing to give up a first round pick for a receiver. Well, let me introduce you to Odell Beckham. Odell was traded for a first round pick, AND a third round pick, AND Jabrill Peppers, who’s been a great safety addition for the Giants. Then we’ll turn to Brandin Cooks, who’s been traded for a first round pick not once but twice. Two separate occasions. Amari Cooper, and since the Hopkins trade, Stefon Diggs was traded to the Bills for… you guessed it, a first round pick. Yes it was a large contract Hopkins was on, but so was Odell Beckhams. I simply don’t believe you couldn’t fetch a first, you must not have tried anywhere near hard enough. Or your negotiation skills are horrific.
Then there’s the added battle of ego’s which apparently caused friction between the two, and guess what, given the choice, it’d be Bill O’Brien i’d trade for the bag of magic beans, not Hopkins.
The trouble is, the Texans gave Bill O’Brien full reign. He was the head coach AND the GM, so he could make these decisions as and when he wished. The Hopkins decision wasn’t the only one either.
That was just the first problem
More problems to dig into. Ooo juicy.
The Texans left it way too late to decide to protect Deshaun Watson. Which led them to overpay the Dolphins for Laremy Tunsil, who yes covered the need, but also meant they’re without draft capital for the future. Why not address it earlier? You had free agency. You had the draft. But they waited and waited, and a week before the first game of the regular season they called on the Dolphins, who moved Tunsil prior to offering him a new contract, meaning he arrived in Houston still in need of signing. So the Texans not only gave up the first rounder, but also then paid Laremy Tunsil a franchise contract, $66 million dollars for three years.
Gap filled, but at what cost? TWO first round picks AND, AND AND AND, a second round pick. So say the first and the second were in exchange for Laremy Tunsil… you gave the Dolphins a FIRST ROUND PICK for Kenny Stills. But of course, nobody trades a first round pick for a wide receiver.
Then you’ve got the decisions to trade for Carlos Hyde, who was about to be a free agent as all around the league expected he would be cut by the Chiefs. And the trade for receiving back Duke Johnson, who yes is a solid back, but not a starter, and made his feelings known in Cleveland, yet despite the unrest, the Texans still jumped in and offered a conditional pick, which turned into a third rounder.
Oh and Brandin Cooks, who’d underperformed according to his heavy $81 million dollar contract. Despite the heavy deal, the Texans offered a second round pick to the Rams, and Cooks was to be the replacement for Hopkins. So the second round pick you got for Hopkins went straight out the window, and now the trade looks like this.
Out: Deandre Hopkins, superstar.
In: Brandin Cooks, great receiver, very heavy contract for his performances, and David Johnson, also a VERY heavy contract for his lack of production.
If you’re willing to take on the contracts of both Brandin Cooks and David Johnson, just pay Deandre Hopkins and save yourselves all the trouble? No? Surely?
I’m almost done, but then we simply have to mention the Jadeveon Clowney trade. A third round pick and two depth linebackers. Barkavious Mingo, and Jacob Martin, from the Seahawks. Mingo now plays for the Bears, so that was a waste, and Jacob Martin is still there with the Texans.
All of this without even going into the mess the Texans had at quarterback before Deshaun Watson came to town. Deshaun was without a doubt the best decision that was made in Houston during the Bill O’Brien era. You got yourselves a franchise quarterback, and then failed to protect him for two years.
But the rest of the QBs. Ryan Fitzpatrick for a short tenure, Case Keenum the same, TJ Yates, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, and they landed on Brock Osweiler. They landed hard on Brock Oswelier. $72 million dollars over four years. He played 15 games in one season, threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. It went so badly south that the Texans essentially paid the Browns a premium draft pick just to take Brock away, and his horrific contract.
He was later cut by the Browns, who paid him his $16 million guaranteed and sent him on his way. Rather than paying him and keeping him around… can never be good when a team would rather pay you to leave, than pay the same money to keep you. But hey, maybe that’s just Cleveland.
Then on top of that, the Texans are $18 million in the hole going into the 2021 season. So they have no cap to play with either. Which means moves will need to be made to free up some space.
So what now Texans?
Well, it’s hardly surprising after several years of horrific decisions, that the Texans are in the mess they’re in now. Deciding not to resign Tyrann Mathieu after just one year, letting him walk. He’s a leader, exactly what you’re looking for, and instead went to Kansas City and won himself a super bowl. Clowney, Cooks, Hopkins, Tunsil, Stills (who has now been released), etc etc etc. The list goes on.
So the Texans find themselves in a post Bill O’Brien era, with a quarterback who’s getting paid mega money, who doesn’t want to be there anymore. JJ Watt, probably the most respected Texan in the last decade, calling out the team after the season for the multitude of horrible performances, and a genuine apology to the fans. JJ is due another $17 million in 2021 before he becomes a free agent, so will likely suit up somewhere else next season, as the Texans look to save some money.
Some of the other contracts they need to figure out include David Johnson, who’s due another $9 million in 2021. Brandin Cooks is due $12 million. You can’t resign Will Fuller so he’ll leave for nothing. Laremy Tunsil is making nearly $20 million next season. Whitney Mercilus $12 million. Zach Cunningham $11.5. McKinney $8.5 before his contract takes a jump in 2022, where it’ll land just over $10 million. Oh and they paid Bradley Roby over $10 million a year in free agency last off season as the number one shutdown corner, and he got suspended half way through the season along with Will Fuller.
It’s bad I can’t lie to you. You have no valuable assets to trade except for Deshaun. Everybody else of value is either a free agent already, or on a contract that wouldn’t warrant another team offering much capital for them. Only the Texans do that. (Sorry Texans fans I know, i’m being harsh, but seriously what in the sweet name of jupiter is your franchise doing? This isn’t my fault!)
So taking everything into consideration, what do you do? Well you kind of have to burn it all down and start again entirely. This would make sense and tie in with the GM hire of Nick Caserio, as his contract was agreed for 6 years. Which means there’s a rebuild on the horizon.
Burn it to the ground, and rebuild it.
To do this, you need to move Deshaun on. He’s your most valuable asset. He’s a top 3 QB in the league right now, and yes if made available then the rest of the league would love to have him. I appreciate that. And that circumstance alone would fetch a pretty haul in return for Deshaun’s services.
However, his very expensive four year contract reduces his value. The fact that he’s so unhappy it’s now very public, also heavily decreases his value, and knowing that the Texans have no leverage, will also lower his value. So that’s not good is it.
Then on top of that, it was included in Deshaun Watson’s contract that he couldn’t be traded. The only way around that is with Deshaun’s consent. So the Texans have shot themselves in the face once again in doing this. Deshaun can only be traded with his consent. So you’ve ruled out 31 teams in the NFL so far. The only place Deshaun want’s to play currently, according to reports, is Miami.
Houston, YOU have a problem.
But hold on a minute, this is not our issue. In fact, it’s nobody’s issue. There are trade discussions going on on social media, where the Dolphins are offering multiple first round picks, other assets, and Tua, in exchange for Deshaun Watson. Listen, Deshaun Watson is an incredible talent, and if he was traded to the Dolphins then i’d survive. But we are not going to save Houston from the self sabotage they’ve found themselves in.
What you’re more likely to see happen, is the other teams around the NFL come and pick chunks off of the rotting carcus that is the Houston Texans. JJ Watt for peanuts, Brandin Cooks for a 4th/5th rounder to clear cap space. Deshaun Watson for… who knows?
But it is not the responsibility of any other team in the NFL to give generously in order for the Texans to rebuild their franchise. I can’t see it happening. It would be foolish. Yes there are potential landing spots for Deshaun, the Jets, the Panthers, the Dolphins, the Patriots, etc, but you have to agree it with him for a start, unless it’s the Dolphins. And you need to somehow encourage a team to give you a decent return, when they all know your QB doesn’t want to play for you anymore, that you have no cap space, and that you’re desperate, with barely any leverage over the situation.
Sorry Houston. But this isn’t our mess to sort out.
The rest of the NFL
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