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With DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals offense now a rocketship

Kyler Murray
Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals shocked the NFL world Monday with an incredible trade that brought Houston Texans superstar DeAndre Hopkins to the desert. It’s a trade that will supercharge Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and help Kyler Murray take that proverbial next step as a second-year pro in 2020.

The trade: Arizona sent running back David Johnson and a second-round pick to Houston in exchange for Hopkins and a fourth-round pick.

It was a steal of epic proportions for the Cardinals:

  • Johnson was already out of favor in Arizona, with running back Kenyan Drake taking over as the primary back last year.
  • Johnson was also overpriced, and Houston is taking on his entire contract, per reports.
  • Hopkins has been among the NFL’s most potent receivers since emerging as a legit No. 1 option in his second season, racking up 580 catches for 7,800 yards and 52 touchdowns the past six seasons — despite some very poor quarterback play until Deshaun Watson arrived on the scene.

Rocketship set to launch: The Cardinals now feature what could become one of the most explosive offensive rosters in the NFL. Here’s what they will be taking the field with, assuming players stay healthy, in 2020.

  • Kyler Murray, the gunslinger: Murray is coming off a worthy NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year performance in 2019. He showed remarkable playmaking abilities and didn’t suffer as many rookie mistakes as most. As a first-year pro, he excelled: Murray completed 64.4% of his passes for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions — low for a rookie.
  • Kenyan, the big-play machine: Kenyan Drake was a revelation once he landed in the desert last year. In eight games with the Cardinals, he averaged over 100 yards and a touchdown per game, showing off his wheels in the process with big play after big play.
  • Larry, the legend: Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the most clutch receivers in the NFL. He isn’t as explosive as he once was at the age of 35, but he hauled in 75 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns this past season.
  • Christian, not so charitable: Though he has yet to fully hit his stride, Christian Kirk has sparkled at times and is certainly an up-and-comer with the potential to continue ascending in the years to come. As a second-year pro in 2019, he caught 68 passes for 709 yards and three scores.
  • Andy “Roadrunner” Isabella: Dude can straight-up fly. Isabella absolutely torched the San Francisco 49ers last season in a game the Cardinals nearly won (watch this), and he will continue to be a player the Cardinals develop as a featured weapon in the years to come.
  • DeAndre, the playmaker: Hopkins’ ability to make insane catches never fails to wow. He’s one of the NFL’s best all-around receivers, and he exploded in Houston once Deshaun Watson arrived on the scene.

This offensive lineup is going to be so much fun to watch.

Coaching matters: As a rookie head coach last year, Kliff Kingsbury showed he has what it takes to make it in this league. His innovative offense gave one of the best defenses in the NFL fits, and it’s only going to get that much more explosive with Hopkins in the mix.

The bottom line: The moves made by Arizona on Monday set the Cardinals up to take some significant steps in the right direction on offense this coming season.

We’re expecting Kyler Murray to experience a second-year surge, rather than a sophomore slump. This offense will be appointment viewing for anyone who loves to watch an air-it-out attack that takes risks and makes big plays on a regular basis.