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Bengals reportedly were interested in trading for DeAndre Hopkins

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Maybe the Texans didn’t want Andy Dalton?

Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The worst exchange in what’s likely the history of all commerce, otherwise known as the DeAndre Hopkins trade, has set off an adventurous beginning to NFL free agency.

The Houston Texans gave away the game’s best wide receiver and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals and received the ghost of running back David Johnson, his contract, the Cardinals’ second-round pick and their 2021 fourth-round pick. Lopsided may not even be the appropriate adjective here.

Friction between Hopkins and the Texans had apparently been brewing for months and the Cardinals were not the only team to inquire about a trade. Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Cincinnati Bengals were among the other teams interested in the All-Pro receiver.

The Texans had previously made Hopkins available for a trade and had been actively attempting to deal him since the end of the season, when the team communicated privately it could move on from the South Carolina native. The Texans also held discussions about Hopkins with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Patriots, according to sources.

Hey, it can’t hurt to call, right?

Giving the clueless Bill O’Brien the benefit of the doubt here, I’m sure he wanted more than what he got for the best player on his offense. The Bengals have more valuable tradable assets than a declining running back, but perhaps the inclusion of draft capital was something the Bengals wouldn’t agree to. Cincinnati has only seven picks in this year’s draft and have rarely been known to finish a draft without more selections to their name.

The Cardinals got lucky when looking at what they “sacrificed” to get an elite talent in Hopkins, but thinking the Bengals would’ve had it that easy is pure speculation. Hopkins is also looking to get a new contract that would pay him around $20 million per year, and that may’ve turned away the Bengals altogether.

That they were even making the effort to bring in Hopkins in an already talent receiving corps is intriguing enough. The question is whether or not they were thinking of pairing him with A.J. Green, or trading him for Green.

Whatever the case was, we may not see a more unbalanced trade in the NFL for a while.