But the Texans gave away Hopkins on March 21, have started the season 0-4 and fired Bill O’Brien as General Manager and coach Monday.
On Wednesday, Texans owner Cal McNair addressed the firing of O’Brien and the trade of Hopkins to Arizona.
Hopkins had three years and $40 million left on his contract, but none of the money was guaranteed. He had outplayed the extension he signed before the 2017 season.
O’Brien previously said Hopkins’ desire for more money led to his departure.
Hopkins ended up signing a two-year extension with the Cardinals in September worth $54.5 million with $42.75 million guaranteed.
“We would’ve loved to have Hopkins on our team, but when you have a franchise left tackle, which we re-did his contract, which by the way, he’s playing at a top-five level right now,” McNair said on Sports Radio 610 on Wednesday. “The franchise left tackle is a huge piece of the puzzle. We have a franchise quarterback, which is what we’ve been looking for, for years, and what every team is looking for and trying to get. And we have them. And we have a very firm belief that Deshaun is our guy. So we had those two major contracts. As you look across the league, we are paying more than anyone, and it’s not really very close on our roster.
“So when Hopkins wanted to re-do his contract, it just wasn’t something we could do. We did trade him. We moved him. We moved him to a team that had the salary cap room to extend. We moved him to a team that I know the owners. It’s a great ownership. We moved him to a team that has an exciting and fun offense. I think we did a good job placing him in a good place. He’s a talent, talented guy. We would love to have him, but it wasn’t going to fit financially with all the constraints that we have in operating under the salary cap. It just wasn’t possible to do at this time.”
Hopkins responded on Twitter before later deleting it.
“Since I’am [sic] my own agent I guess I can speak on my clients departure. Kyle [sic] you never responded to my client when he thanked you after his departure. My client never asked for a new deal he asked for a bandaid deal which means a little raise. My client is very happy in AZ btw!”
The Chiefs somehow have found a way to pay their core players, including receiver Tyreek Hill.
But if the Texans decided they couldn’t afford to re-sign Hopkins, then they should have gotten more for him. They acquired only running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round choice (defensive lineman Ross Blacklock) and a 2021 fourth-round choice in return for the receiver and a fourth-rounder.
The Bills acquired Stefon Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round pick from the Vikings in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2020 fifth-round pick, a 2020 sixth-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
Diggs has never made the Pro Bowl much less earned All-Pro honors each of the past three seasons like Hopkins has.
The Texans have no General Manager, no head coach, no Hopkins and no hope for 2020. The 1992 Chargers are the only team that has rebounded from an 0-4 start to make the playoffs.