Well, over the weekend, the Houston Texans finally got around to two things. First, they dotted the i's and crossed the t's enough on their deals over the last few weeks to announce them via press release for all the world to see...
Man, it's still surreal to see DeAndre Hopkins' name on a press release saying he's gone, which brings us to the Texans' second order of business — they managed to put together a thank you video for Hopkins for his seven years of service to the team...
I guess this is a pretty good jumping off point for some thoughts on the last couple weeks of being a Houston Texans fan, and what exactly this regime spearheaded by Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby are trying to do....
A week later, the Hopkins trade has not gotten any less surreal or painful
This might be the closest thing to an actual real breakup that I've experienced in my adult sporting life, except instead of the girl breaking up with you, it's like she just up and moved to another town unexpectedly. Even worse, it's like YOUR DAD initiated HER dad's transfer to another city. I know I'm down the rabbit hole here on this analogy, but suffice it to say that I am not adapting well in the post-DeAndre world. It's still hard to watch highlights without the room getting a little dusty, if you know what I mean. It would help if the return was a little bit more than a second round pick and a running back whose best year was in 2016, yet he is still the third highest paid back in the league.
Apparently, the culture of "smart, tough, dependable is going to be branded into our brains
If you're holding out hope that the two-headed monster of Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby is going anywhere any time soon, the tea leaves were not fun for you to read this weekend. As we all know, Bill O'Brien has been touting the need for "tough, smart, dependable" players for the last year, really since Brian Gaine was fired. Notice he doesn't mention "being good at football" as part of the criteria, but I digress. Well, not only are those three adjectives something O'Brien brings up in passing, they've now been embedded into team content as well. The article announcing the Texans' moves on their website, an article ironically entitled "Texans place priority on re-signing many of their own," the first sentence reads as follows:
The Texans place a premium on players who dependable, tough and smart.
Watch the very end of this David Johnson welcome video (the highlights of may or may not encompass the entirety of the scouting O'Brien did for this deal):
TOUGH, SMART, DEPENDABLE.... LIVE IT, KNOW IT, LOVE IT, HOUSTON!
I'm not sure Bill O'Brien knows the value of draft picks or salary cap dollars
OK, so as we work past the Hopkins trade, a trade where clearly O'Brien had zero clue as to the worth of one of the two best assets on his roster, we start to get into some of the new contracts handed out by O'Brien and Easterby, going back to the end of last season. Honestly, it doesn't get a whole lot better. Right before the end of the regular season, O'Brien extended Whitney Mercilus on a four-year deal at $13 million per year, in what seems like a gargantuan overpay for a guy who had two sacks once J.J. Watt went out with his pectoral tear. Then last week, in conventional free agency, O'Brien gave $20 million over three years to safety Eric Murray (who played for the Browns last season, and I couldn't find a Browns fan that knew anything about him), and gave slot receiver Randall Cobb $27 million over three years. Cobb had 55 catches last season as the Cowboys' fifth option offensively.
OK, so did they do anything we actually like?
I suppose. The Bradley Roby deal at three years, $36 million was both unexpected and seemingly of good value. Roby was very good last season on a one year prove-it deal, when he was healthy. He missed about a half dozen games. The rest of the deals are all of the one year variety, and some of the guys signed might not even make the team. Good to see Jon Weeks back, as he chases Andre Johnson to become the longest tenured Texan in team history, heading into Season number 11.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.