There really didn't need to be an award to emphasize how great of a trade the Cardinals and GM Steve Keim made in March of 2020 when they acquired All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans and in turn dealt off (the unwieldy contract of) running back David Johnson.
It was not hard to see.
But last week, the analytics crowd provided the emphasis, when the trade was given the "Alpha" award for Best Sports Transaction of the Year from the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
The trade, in full, sent Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Texans and netted the Cardinals Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick. Hopkins, meanwhile, made the Pro Bowl, was named second-team All-Pro and set a franchise record with 115 catches. He also had 1,407 yards and, of course, the "Hail Murray" TD catch.
The Sloan conference is held over two days in Boston -- or virtually in the case of the pandemic, like this year -- to discuss the role of analytics in sports.
The conference's board of directors vote on the "Alpha" award, which dates back to 2013. In 2020, the Yankees' acquisition of D.J. LeMahieu won. The only previous time an NFL team won the award was the Raiders actually getting the title for trading away pass rusher Khalil Mack. Current Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has earned a team the award twice; the Clippers in 2013 for trading for him and the Rockets in 2018 for trading for him.