Houston Texans head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien made his first big splash of the NFL free-agency period by trading three-time all-pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, who earned first-team all-pro honors in 2016, last Monday afternoon.
In addition, the Texans received a second-round draft pick in this year’s draft (40th overall) and a fourth-rounder next year while Arizona also gets a fourth-round pick this year (131st overall).
That 40th overall selection is now Houston’s first pick in the draft after it gave its next two first-round choices to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills and a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft.
The Texans will be responsible for the remaining two years of Johnson’s three-year, $39 million contract extension in 2018 which will have hits against the cap of $10.2 million this year and $7.9 million next year.
The Cardinals selected Johnson out of the University of Northern Iowa with the 86th overall pick in the 2015 draft although it was the next year that saw his numbers jump.
Johnson started all 16 games of his sophomore campaign and racked up 1,293 yards and 16 touchdowns on 293 carries, eventually earning first-team all-pro and pro bowl honors. However, he suffered a knee injury in week 17 of that year and fractured his wrist in the opening week of the 2017 season and missed the rest of the year.
He’s fresh off a 395-yard, two-touchdown season last year in 13 games, nine of which were starts. The 28-year-old has totaled 5,347 yards from scrimmage in 62 career games.
To begin to fill the void left behind in the wide receiving corps, Randall Cobb was signed to a three-year, $27 million deal, $18.75 million of which is guaranteed, later Monday afternoon. He now joins Stills and Will Fuller in leading the aerial attack on the other end of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s arm.
In other unrestricted free-agent signings, the Texans added safeties Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins as well as offensive tackle Brent Qvale.
Houston also agreed to terms to re-sign offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves, Bradley Robey and Phillip Gaines, backup quarterback AJ McCarron, inside linebacker Tyrell Adams, long snapper Jon Weeks, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, tight end Darren Fells and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn.