Bill O’Brien offered more spin than a Clayton Kershaw curveball, describing the DeAndre Hopkins trade as in the “best interest of our team” in the Texans coach’s first public comments since Hopkins was moved to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and two draft picks, a light return for a three-time All-Pro.
“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said on a conference call with Texans season-ticket holders, per ESPN. “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.
“There’s a lot of things that go into trades. Lot of thoughts that go in. How much are you going to take on contractually? How much does it take to buy that second-round pick, that No. 40 pick? What type of player are you bringing in? What type of player are you losing and what is in the best interest of the team?”
O’Brien was supported by Texans CEO Cal McNair and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, who praised the team’s offseason so far. It has included bringing back cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Vernon Hargreaves III, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn and tight end Darren Fells, and signing wide receiver Randall Cobb and safety Eric Murray.
“Our team’s getting better through free agency,” McNair said. “You can’t look at any one move, but you’ve got to put them all together and you really need to look at things over the last 18 months or so to see how the team has changed and how we’ll continue to change.
“It’s important that the focus is the team. And I would think, as a fan, I would be really excited that your leadership of the team can make bold moves and go out and do these things to make the team better.”
That remains to be seen. The Texans lost their most dynamic playmaker in Hopkins and may not have adequately replaced him.