Now J.J. Watt is weighing in.
The Hopkins deal in particular drew heat toward O’Brien after the Texans parted with the three-time All-Pro receiver for an injury-prone running back in David Johnson and a second-round draft pick from the Arizona Cardinals.
Reports that the trade was made in part because of a rift between O’Brien and Hopkins came as no surprise. Nor is the fact that general manager O’Brien prioritized keeping head coach O’Brien and his grand total of two playoff victories over a superstar talent in his prime to resolve said rift.
‘It certainly catches your eye’
The trade was so eye-popping that it just almost prompted J.J. Watt to criticize management.
Watt — one of Houston’s foundation players who has managed to stay with the team — spoke about the Hopkins deal with Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina in an interview published Tuesday.
“Anytime you have a guy like Hop, who in my opinion, has the best hands in the game and is obviously one of the top receivers of the game, it certainly catches your eye, that's for sure,” Watt told Traina.
Wait, did Watt just criticize Texans management?
Coming from squeaky-clean citizen, all-around team player and hyper image-conscious Watt, that amounts to blasting O’Brien. But just to make clear that he wasn’t criticizing management, Watt reverted back to good team-citizen speak, classifying the decision as “above my pay grade.”
“It's above my pay grade and it's something that obviously the team and the organization feels is in the best interest of the team,” Watt continued. “So as a player on the team, I do my job and I go to work and I play the games, and the GM and the owners, they do their job, and they try and do what they feel is best for the team.
“And so all I can do is show up and go to work and hope that all the guys that we have are great contributors to our team.”
Nice save, J.J.
But we all know that that the Hopkins deal was a terrible trade for the Texans. And we all know that you know that the deal was a terrible trade for the Texans, too.
More from Yahoo Sports: