The Houston Texans don’t have a first-round pick in 2020.
They don’t have a first-round pick in 2021.
They don’t have a second-round pick in 2021.
They don’t even have their star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.
What do they have? One man destroying their franchise — head coach and GM Bill O’Brien.
Many analysts and an overwhelming number of Texans fans called for O’Brien to be fired at halftime of their Divisional Round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
His inability to make correct fourth-down decisions was on full display in that game’s second quarter, opting to kick a field goal from the Chiefs’ 13-yard line on 4th-and-1 before attempting a disastrous fake punt on 4th-and-5 from his own 31-yard line on the next possession.
A 24-0 first-half lead evaporated in a matter of minutes, leading to a 28-24 halftime deficit and eventually a 51-31 blowout loss. Bad decisions aren’t a new thing for O’Brien, though.
Instead of firing him for his terrible decision making, the Texans decided to give him the GM job officially for the 2020 season. O’Brien made hilariously bad trades as acting GM in 2019, but this offseason he’s done exactly what you’d expect a man without a basic understanding of fourth-grade math to do: Use his newfound power to make trades that have absolutely zero logic.
O’Brien traded WR DeAndre Hopkins (a 27-year-old coming off his 5th All-Pro season) and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for washed-up RB David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. Sometimes an NFL trade doesn’t make sense at first glance, but once you dive into the salary cap situation it becomes clearer.
This is not one of those situations.
It’s true that the Cardinals are likely to give Hopkins a raise from the $12,500,000 he’s owed in 2020, as it’s millions less than the salaries of Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and the NFL’s other elite wideouts.
However, the Texans won’t be saving much on the salary cap as they are required to pay all of the money owed to Johnson, who despite rushing for a total of 1,308 yards in the past 3 seasons is the 3rd highest-paid running back in the league with a cap hit north of $14 Million.
Unfortunately for Texans fans, O’Brien didn’t stop there:
No other team in the league would have given up a second-rounder for Brandin Cooks, who finished last season with 583 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and concussions number four and five of his short career.
The only logical explanation for these trades is O’Brien realizing that if Texans ownership was willing to give him a promotion for blowing a 24-0 lead in the playoffs, the path to another promotion would be to piss off his franchise quarterback by comparing his #1 weapon to Aaron Hernandez before trading him for peanuts. According to Michael Irvin, “He told DeAndre that he doesn’t like that he has his ‘baby mamas’ around, sometimes.” which also has clear racial undertones.
It’s been so bad for Texans fans that more than 23,000 of them have signed a petition for O’Brien to be fired.
The old saying is that the only man able to stop Michael Jordan was Dean Smith.
Deshaun Watson has unfortunately found a much greater obstacle in Bill O’Brien.