The Pallilog

Billy Bluster is back and trying to defend the Hopkins trade

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Texans Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien finally deigned to speak with the media Thursday for the first time since the DeAndre Hopkins trade. Emperor O elaborated in defending the virtually universally criticized (evaluating the Texans' side of things) deal. He didn't come across as insane or even unreasonable, but he just isn't going to win an argument on this.

O'Brien framed moving Hopkins as pretty much a financial call given Hopkins's raise request. No one asked O'Brien a question that obviously should have been addressed. Why didn't the Texans simply tell Hopkins that they love him (unless O'Brien was in Billy Bluster mode in saying all flowery things about how great Hopkins is), but he wasn't getting a reworked contract two years into a five year deal? Did they think Hopkins would have retired? Or staged a one man mutiny? I mean, come on. The Texans would have been on solid ground in telling D-Hop that his five year 81 million dollar deal is not some woeful underpay and that the team should not/will not re-do a deal simply because the market goes up elsewhere. Hopkins cashed about 41 million dollars in checks the last two seasons. Using similar logic to claiming he's now underpaid, one could argue that as great as he was Hopkins was overpaid the last two years. Plenty of guys topped 11.2 yards per reception and seven touchdown catches last season.

O'Brien explained that he thought it untenable to pay elite level money for Hopkins in addition to elite money for a left tackle, quarterback, and defensive end. Flawed logic. Deshaun Watson is dirt cheap in 2020 and under his fifth year contract option for 2021 will still be a tremendous bargain. That covers two of the three seasons left on Hopkins's contract. Watson and Hopkins combined carry a 2020 cap hit roughly five million lower than Ryan Tannehill's on his new deal with the Titans, about eight million lower than Phillip Rivers's with the Colts.

The Texans are on the hook for David Johnson in 2020 at a higher cap hit (over 11 million) than a running back playing on the franchise tag. Reminder: Johnson's last good NFL season was 2016. Wide receiver Will Fuller makes more than 10 mil in 2020. Hopkins makes 12.5. Fuller has missed 20 games to injury over the last three seasons. Hopkins has missed two games in his seven season career: the last game of the 4-12 disaster that was 2017, and the meaningless regular season finale in 2019. Among Johnson, Fuller, and Hopkins who is the best player/economic value? J.J. Watt has played more than half the regular season once in the last four years. Watt makes 15.5 mil for 2020. Better value: Watt at 15.5 or Hopkins at 12.5?

A week from when I type this the first round of the NFL Draft will be in the books. Barring a stunning trade the Texans will have been bystanders. They of course can't throw a draft party this year. Next year's will be a drag with the Texans having neither a first nor second round pick.

ESPN isn't teeming with great options as it desperately fills programming hours with video game competitions, spelling bee marathons, years old WNBA games, HORSE games, and other. Other than maybe some fans of the winning team, is anybody sitting through a replay of an entire Super Bowl? Finally, something worth watching start to finish! We all should check out The Last Dance which starts airing Sunday night with the first two episodes of the ten part series that goes deep into the end of the Michael Jordan-led Bulls dynasty.

Dennis Rodman turns 59 next month. 20 years ago if asked, I think I'd have bet the under on whether Rodman makes it to 59. Heck, Rodman probably would have bet the under.

What might have been item one. Catch the doozy of a claim that in 2011 the Warriors offered BOTH Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul?

What might have been item two. The Astros' should have been series this weekend would have had the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Again. The Angels were to have opened the season here with the Astros in Anaheim the following weekend. 10 of their 19 regular season meetings would have occurred before April 20. Weird. Weirder, the Astros and Athletics might have had a fantastic season long race in the American League West but all 19 Astros-Athletics matchups would have been completed before the end of July.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Caesar's opened the Texans over/under win total at 7 ½. Which way do you go? 2. Would you prefer the Texans again go 10-6 and again lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, or free fall to 5-11? 3. Best non-meat pizza toppings: Bronze-Ricotta cheese Silver-Spinach Gold-Mushrooms

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Correa knows it's time for his payday. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Rangers made a big splash over the weekend when they agreed to terms on a 7-year $175 million contract with infielder Marcus Semien. Apparently, that was just the tip of the iceberg. According to multiple reports, the Rangers have also added arguably the most coveted player in free agency, Corey Seager. Seager and the Rangers have agreed to a massive 10-year $325 million contract.

Before the Seager news broke, many were starting to wonder if teams would be willing to hand out 10-year deals for over 300 million dollars with the lockout just around the corner. Now we have our answer, and Carlos Correa has to be a very happy man to see how the market is shifting. The Rangers not only added two incredible players, but they also made it pretty much a certainty that Correa will either leave Houston, or the Astros will have to sign him to a long-term $300 million deal, which is not likely based on their stance on multi-year big money contracts.

The Rangers aren't the only team in the AL West making blockbuster moves. The Mariners agreed to terms with 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray on Monday. Ray and Seattle agreed to a 5-year, $115 million contract.

The Angels joined in on the action a couple of weeks ago when they signed Noah Syndergard to a 1-year 21 million dollar deal.

Clearly, the AL West is on notice that they're going to have to make big changes if they want to compete with the Houston Astros who have dominated the AL recently with 5 straight ALCS appearances and 3 trips to the World Series. With Correa likely out the door in Houston, these teams might believe this is a perfect time to make a run at the division and finally knock off the Astros. Only time will tell if these deals will work, and the Astros look to have a terrific team this season whether Correa returns or not.

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