PHOENIX — The NFL decided to continue on with business as usual Monday, and within the first couple of hours of the free agent negotiating window, the Arizona Cardinals significantly changed the trajectory of the team’s future.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Cardinals had traded David Johnson to the Houston Texans, which would retain the running backs entire salary. That was a win in itself for the Cardinals, but in addition, Arizona also acquired DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in the league. According to Schefter, the trade details are still being finalized, but the Cardinals will receive Hopkins and a late-round pick for Johnson and a second-round pick.
Hopkins, a seven-year veteran who will turn 28 this summer, has been a first-team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. He signed a five-year, $81 million extension with the Texans in 2017.
This bombshell came on the heels of the Cardinals putting the transition tag on Kenyan Drake prior to the start of the negotiating window, meaning the team can match any offer made to the unrestricted free agent running back. With Johnson’s salary now out of the picture, it seems nearly certain that the Cardinals will hold on to Drake and the core of the teams offense in 2020 will feature Kyler Murray, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Drake.