The trade orchestrated by the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals earlier this offseason will be known as the "DeAndre Hopkins trade," because it was a deal that sent one of the best wide receivers in the NFL out west for running back David Johnson and a couple of picks -- which did not include a first-rounder. It was a deal that even the Madden NFL video game would not accept, but head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien claimed it was in the best interest of his team. While Texans fans feel betrayed, they are getting a motivated Johnson that wants to prove he's still one of the elite backs in the league. During a recent Zoom press conference, Johnson told reporters that he's motivated by the doubters and wants to everything he can to make O'Brien and his decision look good.
"I like the pressure, Johnson said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "It makes me want to compete more."
Johnson quickly skyrocketed up fantasy football draft boards following his 2016 season with the Cardinals, where he rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns while also recording 80 catches for 879 yards and four more touchdowns. Unfortunately, he dislocated his wrist in the 2017 season opener, and missed the entire year. Johnson did appear to rebound in some ways the following year, as he recorded 1,386 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns in 2018 -- which earned him a lucrative three-year extension. In 2019, however, Johnson took a backseat to midseason trade acquisition Kenyan Drake, and rushed for just 345 yards and two touchdowns on 94 carries and recorded 370 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong for Johnson in Arizona, especially considering he looked like a perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme. Now with Houston, Johnson will share a backfield with Duke Johnson -- which is actually something he's excited about.
"We're going to be a lethal threat, not just running, but catching the football," Johnson said when discussing his new teammate. "We're going to be able to expose the defense and really help out this offense and Texans organization. Get the first downs, the touchdowns."
It may take some time for Deshaun Watson and the offense to find their footing without Hopkins, but a healthy Johnson certainly could be of service to this team as they look to win their third straight AFC South title in 2020.