With J.J. Watt leaving for Arizona this week, I guess I just need to come to grips that this week was going to serve as a brain pounding reminder of the disgraceful DeAndre Hopkins trade, a franchise altering move (in a bad way) whose first anniversary is coming in two weeks. To that end, one day after Watt's signing with the Cardinals was announced, the washed up running back that came over from the Cardinals in the Hopkins trade, David Johnson, was retained on a new contract with a reduced salary:
Source: The #Texans have agreed to terms on a new contract for RB David Johnson, with his one-year deal worth up to $6M with $4.25M fully guaranteed at signing. Johnson stays in Houston.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 2, 2021
Keep in mind, Johnson finished last season with 691 yards rushing, and only really started looking like even an average running back while running into six man boxes toward the end of the season. So, here are my thoughts on the latest depressing development for Texans fans:
OK, somehow David Johnson doubled his guaranteed income from when he woke up this morning
Keep in mind, as I lay his out, that Johnson was a laughingstock last season. Granted, it was only partially his fault. Sure, he could have been better at playing football, but frankly, the Texans could have picked up Mother Teresa in the trade for DeAndre Hopkins, and people would have thought she was an awful human being. (For the record, I think Mother Teresa would have averaged more yards per carry than Johnson did.) So if the Texans wanted to move on from Johnson, they could have cut him, paid him $2.1 million in guaranteed money, and saved around $6 million against the salary cap. Instead, they are now giving him $4.25 million to stick around. So he was bad at his job, and doubled his guaranteed money. This is where we are.
Optics COULD be a big reason Johnson is being kept around
So the question becomes "Why keep David Johnson?" After all, from a football standpoint, wouldn't it make more sense to draft a running back in, say, the fourth round of the draft and see if you have anything there? Well, how about this — if the Texans had cut Johnson, then all that would remain from the DeAndre Hopkins trade would be lightly used, second year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock. Thus, keeping Johnson around for another year gives Jack Easterby a "Hail Mary" to salvage SOMETHING out of the worst trade in the history of the franchise. That's my conspiracy theory, and I am sticking to it!
This completely resets what I see as "possible" for guys getting cut or retained
If you had asked me to handicap the odds on which Texans would get released this offseason to shed salary, I would have had Johnson near, if not AT, the top of my list. As shocked as I am that J.J. Watt is a Cardinal, I am even more shocked that David Johnson is still a Texan. I'm mildly shocked Nick Martin was cut last week. So, very little has gone according to form over the last few days. So this probably means that Benardrick McKinney will stick around for another season, and Brandin Cooks will get released amidst a curse-laden tirade from Jack Easterby.
Ironically, this news came down right in the middle of Watt's Arizona introduction
Let's say one last goodbye to J.J. Watt, by listening in on all the thinking behind his departure from this football clown show:
.@JJWatt on @deshaunwatson: “I love Deshaun. We speak often. He’s an incredible player, but he’s an incredible person..The one thing I want for Deshaun Watson is I want him to be happy.” pic.twitter.com/rfKXvTOTpd— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 2, 2021
.@JJWatt on reaching the conclusion to leave Houston: “It was extremely difficult. 10 years with Houston & the relationship that was built & the bond that I feel with that city is unlike anything I ever could’ve imagined or expected & I realize that’s special & that’s rare...” pic.twitter.com/mI1JvikZ4P— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 2, 2021
.@JJWatt on being reunited with @DeAndreHopkins who campaigned to get him:”It never hurts to have 1 of the best wide receivers in the game going out there &stumping for u,especially a guy who’s a friend & it doesn’t hurt to have a guy who can catch the ball anywhere on the field” pic.twitter.com/V17HM4UBjr— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 2, 2021
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