Trades are a concept that seems unique to the sports industry; they’re almost unseen in other businesses. There really aren’t any parallels where individuals can be shipped off from one company to another and then expected to compete against their former employer the same week. Trades are a part of the fabric of professional sports and help make the NFL the 24-hour news producer that it has become.
Even before yesterday’s deal that brought Demaryius Thomas to Houston, the Texans, for all their conservative habits, have made a ton of trades during their short stint in the NFL. In honor of the Texans’ aggressive move to acquire more talent on the offensive side of the ball to replace Will Fuller, here’s my list of the top ten trades in Texans’ history
10. D.J. Reader For Keshawn Martin? Consider It Done.
Mid or late round picks are hard to predict. Gems are hard to come by after a hundred or so players are selected—but that’s why they’re called gems. Reader is the interior defensive stalwart the Texans have been working to develop since they drafted him in 2016. Vince Wilfork was brought into town to train and develop Reader into the nose tackle the team needs to run their 3-4 defense. Back in September of 2015, New England gave the Texans a fifth round pick in exchange for a sixth round pick and Keshawn Martin. That pick became D.J. Reader. Reader is now a key part of Houston’s defense and looks to be the Texans’ nose tackle for the foreseeable future.
9. Texans Find Franchise Center In Chris Myers.
For just a sixth round pick back in 2008, the Texans gained a future two-time Pro-Bowl center in Chris Myers. With Myers a restricted free agent, the Texans worked a sign-and-trade deal with the Broncos for Myers’ services. The six seasons he played with the Texans were some of the best running offenses Houston has ever seen. Myers started in every game he played in Houston and was a locker room leader throughout his career.
8. Brian Cushing’s Successor Required Trading Up.
In what has turned into a thoroughly disappointing draft class, linebacker Benardrick McKinney is the sole bright spot from the 2015 NFL Draft. The Texans and Browns once again got complicated. Houston traded second, fourth, and sixth round picks to Cleveland for an earlier second and seventh round pick. The Texans then selected linebacker Benardrick McKinney with the second-round pick and traded the seventh rounder. McKinney has skyrocketed up the Texans’ all-time leading tackle list and is already 11th in franchise history with 215 solo tackles. He recently signed a five-year, $50 million dollar contract that secures him as the Texans’ linebacker of the future. He has stepped in and owned the defense in the transition from DeMeco Ryans to Brian Cushing to him.
7. Jay Foreman Makes An Early Impact.
The Texans were in need of defensive playmakers even before their inaugural season began. The Texans made five trades before they started playing football. The fifth was for Jay Foreman, a linebacker from Nebraska. Foreman was traded by Buffalo for backup RB Charlie Rogers. If you were alive to remember, Foreman was the leading tackler in the inaugural season. He was also second and third in tackles over the next two seasons.
6. The Deal for Demaryius Thomas.
The Texans wasted no time after learning that wide receiver Will Fuller suffered a torn ACL in the Week Eight Thursday Night Football game against the Miami Dolphins. At the age of 30, Demaryius Thomas has been underperforming compared to his past production with Peyton Manning. The 6’3” wide receiver is the second all-time pass catcher in Broncos’ history, but that—along with his $14 million salary next season and the Broncos’ 3-5 record—wasn’t enough to keep Thomas off of the trading block. The Texans took Thomas and a 2019 seventh round pick in exchange for a fourth and seventh round pick. Thomas will hopefully take pressure off DeAndre Hopkins and keep rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee in the slot position. A rather aggressive move for a relatively conservative franchise could become a turning point in the 2018 season’s story line.
5. Texans move on from DeMeco Ryans.
The emergence of Brian Cushing, combined with the implementation of the 3-4 defense by Wade Phillips, created the catalyst to trade the team’s leader. Ryans went to Philadelphia with a third round pick as the Texans received a third and a fourth rounder in return. Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones were drafted with those picks and became vital assets on the offensive line; that is, until the Texans decided to not re-sign either lineman. Although it hurt to see Ryans in another uniform, the Texans obtained excellent value from the trade.
4. Matt Shaub Replaces David Carr.
Five seasons of misery were enough for the Texans to move on from the team’s first ever draft choice. Schaub was the perennial backup quarterback to Mike Vick in Atlanta before the Texans acquired him and the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft from the Falcons for 2007 and 2008 second round picks and the eighth overall pick in 2007. Though this trade is eventually marred by the draft bust that was Amobi Okoye, Schaub led the Texans to the NFL Playoffs twice and leads the team in almost every passing category.
3. Texans Trade Back In 2008.
After a promising 2007 campaign, the Texans bolstered their offense by turning their first round pick into three picks. Most notably, the Texans drafted left tackle Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech to block along side newly acquired center Chris Myers and developing right tackle Eric Winston. Although fans may be salty about Brown’s recent holdout and eventual trade in 2017, he was one of the best players in team history and protected the blindside of many Houston quarterbacks for nearly a decade. Houston not only received an elite tackle in the trade, but also drafted Steve Slaton, who rushed for over 1,200 yards in his rookie season. Slaton was the running back the team was missing after Domanick Davis left and is one of the more nostalgic names for fans.
2. Deshaun Drops, Texans Move Up.
A franchise in limbo is one without a reliable quarterback for the foreseeable future. The Texans made the most aggressive trade in franchise history in 2017 by moving up 13 picks in the first round to draft Deshaun Watson. Swapping first round picks and giving up their 2018 first round pick to nab Watson was surely a costly move, but so far, Watson has been the best offensive weapon in franchise history. The Texans’ future rests in the hands of Deshaun Watson, but none of it would have been possible without the best trade in franchise history
1. Texans Rid Themselves of [NAME REDACTED] and His Contract.
As we saw on Thursday, [NAME REDACTED] is not the franchise quarterback former general manager Rick Smith hoped he would be. With basically eight games of film, the Texans took an enormous gamble on the promising quarterback by signing him to a $72 million dollar deal with $37 million fully guaranteed. On March 9, 2017, exactly one year after they signed him, the Texans pulled the ejection seat from the Brocketship and fell back to Earth by making one of the most unconventional trades in league history. The Texans sent [NAME REDACTED], a 2018 second round pick, and a 2017 sixth round pick to a rebuilding Cleveland team in return for a 2017 fourth round pick and $10 million in salary cap space. Considering the Texans did not make any other major moves that offseason (maybe because they were counting on Tony Romo to head south to Houston after the Cowboys cut him?), you could say the Texans eventually used the money saved in this trade to re-sign Johnathan Joseph and sign Tyrann Mathieu.