In an anonymous poll conducted by Ben Standig of The Athletic, 11 of 30 agents said the Texans had the worst offseason in the NFL, the most votes of any team. The comments they made weren't much kinder.
"Bill O'Brien—there's no way he should be the general manager," one agent said.
"I just don't understand them whatsoever," another added.
The major issue the agents had with Houston's offseason was the Texans' trade of DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
The deal raised eyebrows for a number of reasons.
Hopkins is one of the best receivers in football, and trading him deprived franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson of his top weapon. While the Texans reportedly didn't want to meet Hopkins' demands for a new contract, they added a player in Johnson who lost his starting job in 2019 and has a sizable cap hit of $11.2 million this year and $9 million next season.
Wouldn't it have been wiser to pay Hopkins, the better and more impactful player, than Johnson?
"That trade is still mind-boggling," one agent said. "Getting Hopkins for David Johnson? Um, yeah."
"They rid themselves of their best player when not forced," another agent added.
Houston's questionable offseason didn't end there. It then signed veteran wideout Randall Cobb to a three-year, $27 million deal—big money for a player who has exceeded 1,000 receiving yards just once in his career.
The Texans traded a second-round pick for wideout Brandin Cooks, who has a lengthy injury history and a skill set similar to incumbent receivers Kenny Stills and Will Fuller V. And after trading two first-round picks (2020, 2021) for left tackle Laremy Tunsil in September, they signed him to a massive three-year, $66 million extension this offseason.
Giving up such valuable assets to acquire Tunsil meant the Texans couldn't afford to lose him. That, in turn, gave him a lot of leverage—enough to make him football's highest-paid offensive lineman in average salary.
It's hardly surprising a number of agents around football didn't think much of Houston's offseason.