Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray will have arguably the best wide receiver in the league in DeAndre Hopkins as a new target for his second year. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals shocked the NFL world on Monday, agreeing to a blockbuster deal that sent All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and draft picks.

The Cardinals were exploring options to move on from Johnson’s contract this offseason. In exchange for sending a second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round selection to Houston, Arizona acquires one of the NFL’s best receivers

Coming off a disastrous showing as a coach in the AFC Divisional Playoff, the Texans named Bill O’Brien as their general manager. O’Brien reportedly shopped Hopkins around the league before finding a deal with the Cardinals, a move that eats into the Texans’ cap space and takes away Deshaun Watson’s go-to receiver.

Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this shocking trade between the Cardinals and Texans.

Winner: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals would have just been happy to get out of David Johnson’s contract, which carries a $14.1 million cap hit next season. The front office knew they would need to attach a draft pick to get out of the full deal and they accomplished it. Somehow, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim convinced Bill O’Brien to include Hopkins.

Hopkins, a first-team All-Pro selection in each of the past three seasons, only turns 28 in June. He recorded 95-plus receptions and 1,100-plus receiving yards over that span, too. Hopkins is a big-play threat with the ability to make highlight catches thanks to his absurd catch radius. Now with a No. 1 receiver in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, Arizona can use the No. 8 overall pick on a top offensive tackle. After that, this offense will be ready to dominate for years to come.

Loser: Bill O’Brien

O’Brien drew plenty of criticism last offseason for giving away star edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney for a third-round pick, then mortgaging the future to acquire Laremy Tunsil. The decision to trade Hopkins away for a second-round pick and a running back in decline on a bad contract might go down as one of the worst in NFL history.

There’s simply no getting around the magnitude of how bad this deal is for the Texans. Johnson doesn’t really improve their current standing at running back, given he lost his job to Kenyan Drake in Arizona, and the Texans still don’t have a first-round pick in the next two years. None of this will get O’Brien fired, he seems to just get more power after baffling decisions, but it strengthens his case as the worst coach in the NFL.

Winner: Kyler Murray

Murray displayed incredible potential in his rookie season, but he was clearly missing that No. 1 receiver. He campaigned for the Cardinals to draft CeeDee Lamb with the No. 8 overall pick. While he won’t get that wish, something tells us he’ll love this move even more.

Hopkins is the caliber of weapon that Murray has never experienced in his life, very few NFL quarterbacks have. Whether Murray throws a 50-yard dime right into Hopkins’ hands or he needs him to make a one-handed catch along the sideline, Hopkins will do it. This is the pivotal moment that will help Murray make a meteoric rise next season. He’ll likely get an offensive tackle to protect him on the right side now, too.

Loser: Deshaun Watson

It might be time for Watson to demand a trade. He’s already played behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines throughout his career. The physical hits have taken their toll, but he has at least had a top receiver to work with. Now, through O’Brien’s inexplicable decision-making, that is gone.

While David Johnson is a complementary piece in a passing game, his contributions account for a fraction of what Hopkins would have provided. Worse yet for Watson, he will have to continue suffering the consequences of O’Brien’s poor decisions as a head coach and general manager. It’s in Watson’s best interest to demand a trade, but it’s also unlikely to happen.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name every quarterback to start a game for the Cardinals since the franchise moved to Arizona?
SCORE:
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TIME:
8:00
1988
Neil Lomax
1988
Cliff Stoudt
1989
Gary Hogeboom
1989, 1991
Tom Tupa
1989-90, 1992
Timm Rosenbach
1991
Stan Gelbaugh
1991-93
Chris Chandler
1993-94
Steve Beuerlein
1994
Jay Schroeder
1994
Jim McMahon
1995
Dave Krieg
1996
Boomer Esiason
1996-97
Kent Graham
1997
Stoney Case
1997-2002
Jake Plummer
1999-00
Dave Brown
2003
Jeff Blake
2003-05
Josh McCown
2004
Shaun King
2004
John Navarre
2005-09
Kurt Warner
2006-07, 2007, 2009
Matt Leinart
2010
Derek Anderson
2010-12
John Skelton
2010
Max Hall
2011-12
Kevin Kolb
2012, 2014
Ryan Lindley
2012
Brian Hoyer
2013-2017
Carson Palmer
2014, 16-17
Drew Stanton
2017
Blaine Gabbert
2018
Josh Rosen
2018
Sam Bradford
2019
Kyler Murray

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