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SportsLine NFL simulations: Texans worse by trading DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson

Stunning trade in the NFL on Monday as Houston has agreed to send one of the NFL's top receivers, DeAndre Hopkins, to Arizona.
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In a complete NFL stunner, the Houston Texans are trading Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins, clearly one of the best in his position in the league, to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick.

Yes, Houston needed a running back with both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller as free agents, but this is shocking. A top receiver is frankly more important in the modern-day pass-happy NFL than a running back is. Hopkins caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The trade comes after the Cardinals earlier Monday placed the transition tag on running back Kenyan Drake, who was terrific with the team following a midseason trade from Miami.

Johnson had lost his job in Arizona to Drake and finished with just 94 carries for 345 yards and two scores along with 36 catches for 370 yards and four touchdowns out of the backfield in 2019. Johnson simply isn't the same player who had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2016 when he was a fantasy football superstar. Hopkins is 27 (28 in June) and Johnson is 28 (29 in December). Cards second-year QB Kyler Murray has to be doing cartwheels over this trade.

Houston coach Bill O'Brien was also fairly recently named the team's general manager. Hopkins still has three years left on his contract with base salaries of $12.5 million, $13.5 million and $13.9 million remaining on his deal. Johnson signed a three-year, $39 million extension with the Cardinals in September 2018. His cap number is just over $14 million for this season.

Pre-trade, Arizona had a 2020 win total of 6.5 on the NFL futures odds and Houston 8.5. The SportsLine Projection Model drops the Texans from 7.8 wins to 7.0 following this deal and bumps the Cardinals from 6.5 to 7.3 wins. At the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Texans jumped from +2000 to +4000 to win the AFC and +4000 to +8000 to win the Super Bowl. The Cardinals shifted from +4000 to +2000 for the NFC title and +8000 to +4000 for the Super Bowl. 

TEXANSWINWIN%DIVISIONPLAYOFFCONFCHAMP
Before Trades7.848.80%18.60%29.80%1.20%0.40%
After Trades743.80%10.60%18.20%0.40%0.10%
Difference-0.8-5.00%-8.00%-11.60%-0.80%-0.30%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CARDSWINWIN%DIVISIONPLAYOFFCONFCHAMP
Before6.540.60%1.30%9.00%0.20%0.10%
w/Hopkins7.345.6%3.3%16.4%0.70%0.30%
Difference0.85.0%2.0%7.4%0.5%0.2%
SportsLine Staff