Report: Easterby Insisted Texans Trade DeAndre Hopkins; Wouldn't Use WR's Name

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 10, 2020

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

While Bill O'Brien was taken to task for trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, the now-former head coach of the Houston Texans may have been a scapegoat for executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby. 

Per Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop, Easterby pushed to deal Hopkins "soon after arriving in Houston."

The report also noted that Easterby told people in 2019 "we need to move on from that person" without using Hopkins' name. 

Easterby was hired by the Texans in April 2019 as executive vice president of team development. He was promoted to his current role overseeing all football operations for the franchise in January 2020. 

Houston didn't trade Hopkins until March, but one person told Bishop and Vrentas that the organization discussed moving the All-Pro receiver "as early as the summer of 2019."

When Hopkins was sent to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson and two draft picks, the overwhelming consensus was the Texans got fleeced. 

ESPN's Bill Barnwell gave Houston's side of the deal an F in his trade grade, with much of the criticism directed at O'Brien. 

"Even if O'Brien decided that it was time to move on from Hopkins and didn't want to reward a frustrated player who was clamoring for a new deal, there's no way O'Brien can settle for a mid-second-round pick, let alone simultaneously sending a pick swap to acquire a distressed, underwater contract," Barnwell wrote. 

There's no denying that O'Brien, who was the Texans head coach and general manager at the time, deserves some of the blame. He wound up paying the price by getting fired on Oct. 5 after an 0-4 start. 

But it appears as if Easterby may have been a driving force behind the decision to trade one of the NFL's best wide receivers coming off three straight All-Pro selections in the prime of his career.