Texans claim DeAndre Hopkins trade was only about money

At a time when the country fails to agree on pretty much anything, the United States have become unified regarding the perception that the Texans are getting screwed in the DeAndre Hopkins trade. After two days of being the NFL’s collective pin cushion, the Texans are pushing back.

Ed Werder of ESPN, citing an unnamed Texans source, reports that the trade happened because Hopkins wants a new deal in the range of $18 million to $20 million per year, and that the relationship between O’Brien and Hopkins was “not an issue or a factor.” The unnamed Texans source also pointed to the team’s plan to extend contracts for both tackle Laremy Tunsil and quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The unnamed Texans source also contends that the trade offer received from the Cardinals was the “best by far.”

As with any trade, the team acquiring the player must balance the compensation to the team and the compensation to the player. The more the Cardinals are willing to pay Hopkins (and they will be talking about a new deal), then the less willing they are to give the Texans.

If these various claims and explanations are accurate, they should have been leaked on Monday. And they shouldn’t be leaked at all; someone from the Texans should be saying it on the record.

Bill O’Brien, now the coach and the G.M. of the Texans, may not care about the P.R. But he should. Only Patriots coach Bill Belichick is immune to criticism for personnel gaffes, because he has six pelts on the wall. Any other coach needs to be concerned about the connection between perception and reality — and about the reality that the failure to provide a prompt and persuasive explanation allows a perception to harden like cement, making it the kind of thing to which fans, media, and ultimately owners point when the question arises as to whether a coaching change is needed.