This hasn’t been a good season for the Texans. It began months before they even stepped onto the field in 2020. In March, the team drew criticism when they traded star WR DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best receivers in the NFL, for a package led by veteran running back David Johnson. It didn’t seem to be enough of a return for a star like Hopkins.
His departure left Will Fuller as the team’s best pass-catcher. And there was even speculation ahead of the trade deadline that he could be dealt as well. The move never happened, which relieved star QB Deshaun Watson.
The DeAndre Hopkins trade
The Texans didn’t think they would be able to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Hopkins, so on March 16, they traded him, and the 131st overall pick in this year’s draft, to the Cardinals.
In addition to Johnson, currently on injured reserve, the Texans received the 40th pick in the 2020 draft — used to select DL Ross Blacklock — and a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. On September 8, the Cardinals gave Hopkins a two-year extension worth $54.5 million, details Spotrac. It locked up the four-time Pro Bowler through 2022 and possibly through 2024.
Trade rumors surrounding the Houston Texans
With the Texans just 1-6 ahead of the November 3 trade deadline, some thought they’d send some stars away for draft picks in an attempt to rebuild. Veteran DE J.J. Watt was the biggest name the Texans were rumored to move. The 31-year-old was skeptical about playing for a team in rebuild mode as he enters the backside of his career. Watt’s been the heart of the Texans. It would’ve hurt the fan base if he was traded.
Then there’s Fuller. Before the deadline, many speculated that he’d go on to play for the Packers. He’s a good young receiver whose biggest weakness is missing games due to injuries. That hasn’t been an issue so far in 2020, as Fuller has played in each of the Texans’ first nine games. So far, he has 41 receptions for 628 yards and six TDs — just one fewer than his career-high.
Deshaun Watson is relieved at the lack of dealing
Fuller had a 100-yard receiving game with a touchdown in Week 9, the Texans’ first game after the trade deadline. Watson was likely happier to see Fuller in a Texans uniform than anyone else. NFL.com wrote about Watson’s postgame comments. It was obvious that he wouldn’t have been happy if the team traded his best remaining receiver.
In response to a query about the rumored trade, the Clemson alum said, “It would have been hell if they would have did that, for sure.” Watson went on to say he’s “glad to continue to play with Will,” citing a lot of “big, big plays” they’ve made together. Rather optimistically, he promised that the pair will “continue to do that as we continue to go the rest of this year and hopefully the rest of our careers.”
Will Fuller’s thoughts on the trade rumors
Fuller didn’t seem happy to be the subject of trade speculation entering the deadline. In the same NFL.com article, the receiver said it “really sucked” to be rumored to be on the move. Fuller said he gives the team “his all” and is a “very unselfish player”; he didn’t like to “be shopped around.” He concluded his remarks by saying he’s happy to be catching passes from Watson.