The biggest trade of the 2020 offseason still isn’t finalized, nearly three weeks after the deal was preliminary done.
Per multiple sources, neither receiver DeAndre Hopkins nor running back David Johnson have passed their physicals. As a result, Hopkins still isn’t officially a Cardinal, and Johnson still isn’t officially a Texan.
So what happens if Johnson or Hopkins fail their physicals? That question was posed by a reader for Sunday’s mailbag, and it justified its own response.
As one source explained it to PFT, Johnson has had a preliminary physical performed on his wrist, which was injured in Week One of the 2017 season. He passed that portion of the physical, despite reduced range of motion that initially caused the doctor (not an NFL doctor) to hesitate. Johnson still has to take a physical as to the rest of his body.
Put simply, if Johnson or Hopkins fail their physicals, the trade will be off. As a practical matter, that gives both the Texans and the Cardinals an out, if they want to avoid the deal — and if they can persuade their doctors to give either guy an “F” on his physical.
For now, there’s no reason to think the Cardinals or the Texans would want to renege. But what if during the draft the Texans have a great running back tumble into their laps in, for example, round three or what if, for example, the Cardinals stumble into a great receiver who would be much cheaper than $22 million per year?
Then there’s the bigger question of what happens with the second-round pick that the Cardinals will be sending to the Texans and the fourth-round pick that the Texans will be sending to the Cardinals? If the physicals aren’t done and the trade isn’t done, how can the 2020 draft picks that were part of the deal change hands?
As one source explained it to PFT, the 2020 draft picks mean that the physicals will have to be done by the start of the draft, or the two sides will have to come up with other terms.
For Johnson, none of it matters; his $10.2 million salary is fully guaranteed regardless of whether the Cardinals or Texans pay it. (He also has another $2 million in fully-guaranteed salary for 2021.)
So the situation gives rises to plenty of questions, and answers in the form of completed physicals or alternative trade terms need to come within the next 19 days.