The Houston Texans continue to head in the wrong direction. When the front office decided to trade DeAndre Hopkins, questions emerged about the franchise’s future. While the wideout is thriving in his new role, the Texans haven’t reaped the same benefits. David Johnson seems like a forgotten man.
One season removed from the trade, Johnson opens up on what life was like on the other side of the trade.
The Texans shocked the world by trading DeAndre Hopkins
The Houston Texans made headlines after the 2019 season when they announced they would be trading star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
Houston sent Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to Arizona in exchange for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
Hopkins was a big-time playmaker for the Texans. The Clemson product recorded 632 receptions for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns in seven seasons with the team. After four Pro Bowl campaigns, Bill O’Brien and the front office decided to part ways.
The move was a head-scratcher for the Texans. Maybe, they didn’t want to pay him. It also sounds like they didn’t want to win. The franchise will continue to pay for that trade and its trickle-down effect. J.J. Watt joined Hopkins in Arizona, and Deshaun Watson may also be on his way out the door.
Trading DeAndre Hopkins was a mistake. The Texans aren’t the only ones who paid for it, though.
David Johnson felt stressed after the trade
DeAndre Hopkins did a lot for the Texans organization, as well as the city of Houston. Still, the team felt he was expendable. The deal sent shockwaves across the NFL.
For David Johnson, it wasn’t easy to hear the news that he was on the other side of the trade. At first, he was excited that the Texans believed in him, but things changed once he saw Hopkins’ name.
“Then it became really bad,” Johnson told The Athletic. The former Cardinals running back heard the Texans get blasted for trading their All-Pro wide receiver.
“I was in such a fishbowl,” said Johnson. “Everything I did was going to be magnified because of the trade. Honestly, I felt like if I was traded for anyone else, it wouldn’t be as bad. I think just the magnitude of the trade is what made it so stressful.”
If you’re going to trade one of the faces of your franchise, you expect some value in return. Johnson has failed to produce enough to make up for the loss of Hopkins. It’s not even close.
“I felt like I was constantly having a lot of adversity thrown at me,” he said. “I was just getting real frustrated, really mad. The biggest thing for me is I was bringing it home to my wife and kids, being stressed and carrying it over from the game or the facility to my wife. I felt like they didn’t deserve that.”
The trade took a drastic toll on Johnson’s football career and personal life.
Johnson was a productive player for the Cardinals
Despite the underwhelming returns in Houston, David Johnson was not a bad player during his time in Arizona.
The Cardinals drafted him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Northern Iowa. The Clinton, Iowa native made an immediate impact as a rookie. He carried the ball 125 times for 581 yards and eight touchdowns. Johnson also caught 36 passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns.
Johnson’s most productive season came in 2016. He rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns as the full-time starter. He recorded 80 receptions for 879 yards and another four touchdowns.
The 2016 season was Johnson’s lone Pro Bowl campaign. He spent five seasons in Arizona, but he saw his production dip in his last couple of seasons with the team.
Now 29 years old, David Johnson is in a less than ideal situation with the Houston Texans. He’s struggled so far but knows that some things are out of his control.
“You can’t control everything, and if you try to, that’s when it gets really frustrating,” he said. “That’s when your world starts breaking down.”
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference