Today, over at ESPN, they used their power and influence to discuss the best and worst moves made this offseason with NFL executives . You can read the entire article here. These conversations turned to the Houston Texans. First, the anonymous execs loved both the decisions the Bills and Cardinals made to trade for Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins:
Looking at the Hopkins deal through the prism of the Diggs deal makes the fact that Hopkins is a Cardinal even more unbelievable.
The Bills gave up a first-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round pick for Diggs and a seventh-rounder — and it was totally worth it. Diggs has changed the Bills’ offense.
Hopkins, a tad higher than Diggs in the positional pantheon, went to Arizona for less capital: a second-round pick and aging running back David Johnson, with each side getting a respective fourth-rounder as part of the deal.
Hopkins is on pace for 1,400-plus yards, and no matter how much Kyler Murray runs or Christian Kirk gets loose, Hopkins is always a stabilizing force (see: Miami corner Xavien Howard’s four penalties Sunday).
“He’s perfect for that offense because they can line him up all over, in the slot or outside, and he can win on broken plays, which suits Kyler’s skill set,” an NFC exec said.
Diggs brought his edge to Buffalo. He wanted to be a No. 1, and he’s validating that desire.
“He’s so versatile,” an NFC coordinator said. “You can put him anywhere on the field, and he wants the ball. He wants to be the guy.”
Both contracts are fairly manageable, too. Hopkins’ two-year, $54 million extension looks daunting but is offset by the three years Hopkins had remaining on his old, now obsolete deal. Diggs is due $11 million in salary in 2021.
They also hated the Texans for not making moves at the 2020 NFL trade deadline. Apparently the Texans wanted too much for Will Fuller, who will be a free agent after the season ends. This website clamored for the Texans to add pick volume. Naturally, they didn’t. The anonymous executives are just as perplexed as we were, but they have some idea of what Houston wanted for the players on their roster.
The Texans did a whole lot of talking behind the scenes but finalized just one minor move: defensive tackle Eli Ankou to the Dallas Cowboys for a seventh-rounder in 2022.
A team with a top-10 quarterback shouldn’t have to blow up the roster. Perhaps Houston can make a second-half push to .500, starting with Sunday’s win over Jacksonville as a springboard. But the word from execs through the trade deadline was that the Texans wanted too much for pieces such as Will Fuller V, a 2021 free agent.
Bill O’Brien’s purge of draft capital created urgency to try to get some back, but it appears that the Texans were so desperate to recoup the high picks they lost that they eschewed trying to get the best value for April.
None of the Texans’ eight draft picks in 2021 are in the first two rounds, and four of those eight are in the sixth or seventh rounds. That’s a problem.
“I really thought they were going to unload. Start the new coach off right with more draft picks,” an AFC exec said.
J.J. Watt, whose $17.5 million 2021 salary is not guaranteed, probably would have welcomed a chance to win elsewhere. Despite age (31) and durability concerns, he has value.
It does seem like the Texans decided to push these decisions over to the offseason and allow the next general manager of the team to deal with it. They never got the deluxe nuts they needed: cashews, brazils, pistachios, things of that nature. So now here they are.
Hopefully next season, with a new leadership group in charge, Houston will find themselves once again in the praises and graces of anonymous sources.