Duke Johnson Trade Highlights Problems in Texans Front Office

Shortly after releasing former third-round RB Donta Foreman, the Texans traded a conditional pick for former Browns third-round RB Duke Johnson.  The pick will likely be a third rounder, and represents the highest compensation paid for a running back trade since a first rounder was exchanged for Trent Richardson. Contrast this with the Eagles trade for 1000-yard rusher Jordan Howard (6thRounder), and the Dolphins trade of Jay Ajayi (4th).  Compare Johnson’s productivity, salary and trade compensation with any RB trade in the preceding 5 years, and it becomes apparent that the Texans got fleeced (especially since Johnson already stated that he had no intention for ever playing for the Browns again).  How did the Texans get so fleeced?

The Texans have a habit of allowing a need to linger and fester without addressing it so long that it is apparent to the league how badly the Texans need the acquisition.  (Think QB and OT).  This forces the Texans to negotiate from a position of weakness.  Here, the Texans could have held off on releasing Foreman until after the trade was done, thereby not showing their hand too early.  THAT trade likely would have resulted in a 5-6th rounder, commensurate with Howard or Ajayi.  

Much has been made about the Texans’ botched attempt to raid the N.E. front office, and their subsequent decision to simply go without a GM. When asked about how the Texans would deal without a GM, Cal McNair commented “I promise you people will know who to contact [with the Texans] to make a trade.”  This is the Texans in a nutshell.  They are reactive, and wait/hope for assets fall to them (or for other teams propose trades), rather than go out and identify deals that could fill needs, at the lowest cost. This is how you get Titus Howard instead of Andre Dillard.  This is also how you allow other teams to dictate the terms for trade proposals.  The purpose of having  a GM is for your organization to identify bargains or organizations in distress, and see if you can take advantage of it.  If the Texans had a competent GM, they could have held on to Foreman (to maintain leverage) and used Johnson’s stated intention to not-play for the Browns as leverage to obtain him in a bargain.  By releasing foreman first, the Texans got Texans-ed again.   

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