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2020 Houston Texans Off-Season

eagle eye

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I was on the fence about whether to write about the Cowboys or the Texans but I just can’t get over the deal Bill O’Brien made with the Arizona Cardinals yesterday. The Texans offense just got significantly worse after he pulled the trigger on one the stupidest deals I have ever seen. To me, trading the best wide receiver in the game in the prime of his career was a move that is on a par with the colossally stupid deal the Vikings made to get Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings gave up 14 draft picks to get Walker who thought he was the missing piece of the puzzle to get the Vikes back to the Super Bowl. That giant thud you heard back in the day was the Vikings plans falling flat on the ground while the Cowboys used all those draft picks to build the team of the 1990s winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. The Vikings haven’t been to a Super Bowl since the 1970s.


Last fall you sort of felt good about Bill O’Brien for pulling the trigger on a deal with Miami to get LT Laremy Tunsil and an oh-by-the-way addition to the trade was WR Kenny Stills. Not bad, Bill. He got his franchise left tackle and a compliment to DeAndre Hopkins who did have Will Fuller but that guy has missed as many games as he’s played in the four years since he was drafted in the first round by the Texans. Fuller really seems like he could be considered a bust simply because he can’t stay healthy.


This deal makes the Texans offense a lame duck offense and takes away the one guy Desean Watson could count on. Let’s take a look at this deal, shall we? Arizona gets Hopkins, arguably the best WR in the NFL and a 2021 fourth round pick plus they will have Hopkins under contract for 3 more years plus his salary. Hopkins wanted to renegotiate his deal with Houston and speculation has that Hopkins was not a Bill O fan. He may feel a lot better going to a franchise with a good young QB in Kyler Murray, a really good young RB in Kenyon Drake and there is always Larry Fitzgerald, the ageless wonder who will now see a lot of single coverage. Win-win for the Cardinals and Hopkins. The Texans get a broken down shadow of what he once was in RB David Johnson who brings with him a huge salary the Cardinals were dying to unload. Johnson will now be paid around $13 MM dollars over the next 12 months which is wildly too much money for guy who has hardly played the last 3 seasons. The Texans get the Cards 2nd round pick in this year’s draft and a 4th round pick in 2021.


I don’t always agree with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman on ESPN radio’s afternoon radio show called, “The Blitz”, but I listened to the show on the way home from work yesterday and they were ripping O’Brien a new one over this deal and I only wish they had ripped harder. After Houston leapt out to a 24 point lead against Kansas City in the playoffs this past January only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl champs Fred and AJ were done with Bill O’Brien. At the time I wasn’t as anti-Bill as they were but, now I am all on board with the fire Bill train. The Texans were my favorite AFC team and my ultimate dream was, and is, to see a Texas Super Bowl but, I can’t root for the Texans as long as BOB is running the show in Houston. O’Brien pooped in his own punch bowl and I, for one, refuse to drink any of that Kool-Aid. Only a new coach and a new GM who bring their own new punch bowl will work for me now.

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There really hasn’t been that much news out Houston Texans-land but the Bulls made on move of note recently. The have made a deal to acquire WR Brandin Cooks from the LA Rams. Cooks spent 3 years with the New Orleans Saints, one year with the New England Patriots and then he was signed by the Rams spending the past two seasons with them. Cooks has played on two Super Bowl teams, the Patriots in 2017 and the Rams in 2018 when the Rams faced the Patriots, his former team. The Rams lost to the Patriots 13-3 in the lowest scoring SB in history.


Cooks is the first player in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards receiving 3 straight seasons with 3 different teams. He did have a down year in 2019 as he failed to gain a thousand yards for the first time since his rookie season in 2014.


Cooks is 5’10’’ and 183 pounds so he’s quite a bit smaller than DeAndre Hopkins, the man his is replacing in Houston’s offense. He’s a quick twitch athlete and who can get up to top speed in a short amount of time which means he is more explosive than Hopkins but, his smaller size leaves us to question his durability. Hopkins is a year older than Cooks and he’s bigger (6’1’’ and 212 lbs) and he’s played 110 of a possible 112 games in his career. Cooks forte is his speed and route running but you can’t say he’s more athletic than Hopkins who seems to make one spectacular catch after another week after week. That isn’t to say Cooks isn’t a very good receiver but I don’t believe he’s in the same class as Hopkins. Cooks has had issues with concussions in the past that are concerning but Bill O’Brien had to make some sort of move after the Hopkins trade. Pundits and fans alike ripped O’Brien for trading the best offensive player he had, and IMO the best WR in football, with very little in return. I think that criticism was warranted.


Cooks is a good, maybe great WR but, there are some questions about him. One is the concussions, he missed most of SB LII with the Patriots due to concussion and he missed 2 games in 2019 because of a concussion. It’s not like he’s had a lot of issues with concussion but it seems once you’ve had one every successive one takes less of a hit to get concussed. The other thing is why, given that Cooks is a very fast and accomplished receiver, have teams been so willing to let him go? The Saints traded Cooks to NE for 1st and 3rd round draft picks giving up Cooks and a 4th round pick. The Patriots later in the spring of 2017 picked up the 5th year option of Cooks’ contract. The Saints had rights to Cook for 5 years because he was a 1st round pick. However, the Patriots traded cooks to LA for a 1st round pick. During the summer of 2018 Cooks signed a 5-year $81 MM extension with LA that included $50.5 MM guaranteed. Just two years into that deal the Rams deal Cooks to Houston and only get a 2nd round pick. It must be noted that Houston didn’t have a 1st round pick in this year’s draft because they spent that last year to acquire LT Laremy Tunsil. The Texans used the 2nd round pick they got from Arizona in the Hopkins trade. It’s strikes me as odd that a good WR and one who has high moral character would have such a hard time staying with an organization even while under contract.


It must be noted that the only non-Houston free agents the Texans have signed have been WRs. Cooks and earlier, within a week of the Hopkins trade, the Texans signed free agent Randall Cobb. Both in an effort to replace the production of Hopkins. If the Texans offense fails to produce in 2020, assuming there is an NFL season in 2020, this Hopkins deal could and should cost O’Brien his job. In reality the most reliable receivers Houston has are Cooks, Cobb and Kenny Stills. Everyone else is just a guy except for Will Fuller and Keke Coutee who are just flat unreliable because both have issues with hamstring injuries. Both are good but keeping them on the field has been nearly impossible.

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