When the Houston Texans take the field on Thursday night, they’ll be doing so with a new running back in their backfield. After an up and down five year career with the Arizona Cardinals, highlighted by a 2016 First-Team All-Pro selection yet overshadowed by recent injuries, David Johnson will be carrying the workload for the Deshaun Watson-led offense.
Houston is hoping that the versatile Johnson can become a favorite target for the quarterback out of the backfield, while also helping build on a rushing attack that ranked ninth-best in football a season ago. Houston clearly still views D.J. as an elite running back in this league, as the Cardinals received quite the haul in return for his services back in March.
What Did the Cardinals Get in Return for Johnson?
The Texans have bolstered one of, if not the best QB-WR duos in football over the past few seasons. However, they decided to trade half of the dynamic duo away in exchange for the prospect of an upgrade in their backfield.
Houston sent four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick (131 overall) to the Cardinals in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick (40th overall), a 2021 fourth-round pick and Johnson.
With the 2020 NFL Draft now in the books, here’s how the entire trade broke down:
- Cardinals Received:
- DeAndre Hopkins | WR
- 2020 4th Rd. Pick (131) – Rashard Lawrence | DT
- Texans Received:
- David Johnson – RB
- 2020 2nd Rd. Pick (40) – Ross Blacklock | DT
- 2021 4th Rd. Pick
Hopkins Signs Extension as Both Teams Address Their D-Line
Not only did Hopkins get a new mailing address this summer, but the paychecks he’ll be receiving in said mailbox are going to look vastly different as well. This is thanks to the Cardinals locking up the star receiver on a two-year extension worth $54.5 million on Wednesday. Hopkins’ deal, which he revealed he negotiated mostly himself, checks in at $42.5 million guaranteed, per ESPN.
Hopkins also made sure to add in a no-trade clause for good measure, you know just in case of the off-chance that a team would be looking to move off of a three-time First-Team All-Pro receiver for whatever reason.
With Hopkins off the books, Houston was able to set their focus on locking down their quarterback long-term. The Texans inked Watson to a four-year, $160 million contract extension this past Saturday.
In terms of each team’s return on draft capital, Houston landed Ross Blacklock with the 40th-overall selection in this past April’s draft, while Arizona came away with defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence in the fourth-round.
Blacklock, a First-Team All-Big 12 selection out of TCU this past season, has impressed during his short stint with the Texans, having recently been named a starter alongside three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Lawrence, a reigning College Football National Champion out of LSU has enjoyed similar success to Blacklock since entering the league.
“He does stuff already you wouldn’t expect a rookie to do,” fellow defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said of Lawrence. “I asked (defensive line coach Brentson Buckner), ‘How did he drop to the fourth round? This is the best D-lineman I’ve seen in a long time.'”
“I know it’s high praise for a rookie but just his mechanics and his techniques, it’s already through the roof.” Phillips added, “the sky is the limit for him.”
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