Deshaun Watson's Reported Reaction to DeAndre Hopkins Trade Revealed

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2021

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. left, talks with quarterback Deshaun Watson before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson apparently had a natural reaction upon learning the team traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals last offseason.  

"Watson was angry about the trade, which represented the first major crack in the relationship between him and the team, but less than six months later, shortly before the first game of the season, he agreed to a $156 million contract extension—the second-richest deal in football," according to a report from The Athletic.

Watson was working out with his quarterback coach, Quincy Avery, at the time. Avery reportedly said, "Oh s--t" upon seeing news of the deal on his phone.

Even while ignoring the fact the Texans ultimately got little in return for Hopkins, the move remains just as puzzling now as when it happened.

Hopkins was coming off his third straight All-Pro season. Since entering the league in 2013, he ranked first in receptions (747) and second in receiving yards (10,009), per Stathead.

Sending away one of the NFL's best pass-catchers is exactly the opposite of what you do when you have an elite quarterback entering the prime of his career.

ESPN's Adam Schefter spoke to a source in January who said Watson's anger level toward the Texans had been a two out of 10 after the Hopkins trade. But it's grown to a 10 out of 10 since then:

Deshaun Watson @deshaunwatson

I was on 2 then I took it to 10

Schefter laid out how Watson had expected to be part of the process as Houston searched for a new general manager. The quarterback reportedly thought he could provide some input—without having final approval or the authority to name the specific candidate—and was surprised to see Nick Caserio hired.

The Texans had tried to poach Caserio in 2019 but backed off when the New England Patriots threatened them with tampering charges.

Watson probably wasn't happy, either, to see Hopkins enjoy another Pro Bowl season (115 receptions, 1,407 yards, six touchdowns) in Arizona.

In general, Houston seems to have written the blueprint for exactly what not to do after one of the NFL's top quarterbacks falls into your lap in the draft.