The Houston Texans stunned many NFL fans when they elected to trade DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best wide receivers in the league, to the Arizona Cardinals, and at least one NFL executive saw the deal as "a joke."
"It is amazing in the NFL that some trades are so lopsided still," the executive said, per Mike Sando of The Athletic. "The Hopkins thing was a joke. How the David Johnson contract was included in the deal just astounds me."
Houston traded Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft.
Johnson was a Pro Bowler in 2016 and appeared to be one of the best running backs in the league with 1,239 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns, but he has not reached the 1,000-yard mark since and tallied just 345 rushing yards in 13 games last season.
According to Spotrac, the running back is set to make $10.2 million in base salary with an $11.2 million cap hit in 2020 and $7.95 million in base salary with a $9 million cap hit in 2021.
Another executive pointed to that contract as well when criticizing the deal from the perspective of the Texans and head coach Bill O'Brien:
"They have been shopping the guy (Hopkins) for a year-and-a-half, so let's not pretend they do not know what the market is. They clearly knew the market. Other teams were scared of the market, and I think with players like Hopkins who have actually held out, there is fear of what the contract looks like. Do I think they should have taken on David Johnson? No, they did not do a great deal, but they were at a point where they just wanted to move on, and that is the danger of having the head coach being the GM."
While ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Hopkins told the Texans he wanted a new contract that would give him between $18 million and $20 million a year and was willing to hold out if he didn't receive it, there is no doubting his status as a game-changing playmaker who instantly transforms Arizona's offense.
The four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro has never finished with fewer than 802 receiving yards in any of his seven seasons in the league and has surpassed 1,100 receiving yards in five of the last six years.
He gives Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray a dangerous weapon alongside veteran Larry Fitzgerald as the team shifts its focus to the 2020 campaign.