It might be just pre-draft chatter, but two teams over the weekend told me to watch Houston and DeAndre Hopkins, who has three years and a reasonable $40 million left on his contract, and who’d cause only a $3-million cap hit to the Texans if they traded him. Houston is currently in draft hell, without a top-50 pick in 2020 and 2021, and coach Bill O’Brien has huge needs to fill on his offensive line, in the secondary and overall youth on the front seven; J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus will play this year at 31 and 30.
What could hurt O’Brien if he’s serious about moving Hopkins is he’ll play this year at 28, and he wasn’t as explosive last year as he’d been . . . and the fact that this is one of the best years in history for wideouts in the draft. How tempting Hopkins would be, though, to teams with cap money. The Patriots, at 23, would be a fascinating match (they might need a mid- or late-round pick back with Hopkins), or the Niners at 31, Giants at 36 or Dolphins at 39.
Houston’s need across the roster is big, and it’d take a big pick to pry Hopkins. Over the last three years, Hopkins has 15 more catches, 14 more touchdowns and 12 fewer dropped passes than the great Julio Jones. Pretty tempting to consider.