Two short years ago, the Houston Texans went 9-7 in the regular season, won the AFC South and made the playoffs.
Sadly their season ended at the hands of a 30-0 demolition at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, Brian Hoyer’s play was at best sub-optimal. Hoyer posted a white-hot stat line of 15 of 34 for 136 yards. He sprinkled in 4 interceptions and lost a fumble for good measure. It was a game for the ages.
Despite his sparkling post-season performance, the Texans decided they should part ways with Hoyer after the season. Hoyer left, eventually usurping Jay Cutler’s throne in Chicago. Sadly he heroically perished in battle on a frigid Monday night in Green Bay. After cutting ties with Hoyer, Houston had to move on at the quarterback position. Would they draft one early? Maybe make a trade? The free agency route? All options were on the table, then the Texans did the unbelievable, the unthinkable. They stole John Elway’s Quarterback….
When NFL free agency opened, circa 2016, it was with a 6 foot 7 inch bang. The Texans had spent 4 years of their lives they won’t get back as well as 72 millions of American dollars on Brock Alan Osweiler. The “Brocky Mountain Guy”, was going to Houston. Considering 37 million of those 72 million was guaranteed NFL money, not sure I blame him.
Now, normally giving that kind of money to a quarterback with a grand total of 7 NFL starts and 305 passing attempts may seem like a bit of a leap of faith. But the Texans would have none of your negative Nancy nitpicking, no sir. You see, they have QB guru Bill O’Brien. He used to coach Tom Brady, ya know. If he could go 9 and 7 with Brian Hoyer, well with Brock Osweiler, the sky is the limit, right? I mean it’s not like Osweiler had lost his job the season before to the reanimated corpse of Peyton Manning. Oh wait, he did? Well then, that might muddy the waters off the coast of Galveston a wee bit.
So the 2016 season ends. The Texans go 9 – 7, win their division and make the playoffs. Spooky levels of deja vu, huh. This season though, led by arguably the leagues best defense, they lost in the first round against Tom Brady and the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots. And the main stumbling block in the game was the same adversity the team had been fighting with all season. That adversity being the simple fact that Brock Osweiler was arguably the worst starter in the league.
I mean, Blake Bortles could at least put up some nice fantasy football friendly garbage-time stats. Osweiler was so inept, he became the first player in the NFL to consistently shut down Deandre Hopkins. In retrospect, Osweiler’s season was quite impressive. Do you have any idea how hard it must have been to make an offence with Lamar Miller, Deandre Hopkins, and Will Fuller look so dreadful and impotent? This was some McNabb in DC levels of awfulness.
The Texans had come full circle. 9 – 7 again, but now they are stuck between a Brock and a hard place. It seemed like all was lost. They had entrapped themselves in 3 more years of Brock. But what was that on the horizon? Could it be? Oh my stars and garters, the day was saved by a knight in Brown and Orange armor…
The Browns new front office is much more forward thinking and free-spirited than the majority of their contemporaries. They don’t subscribe to the cookie-cutter NFL status quo. And because of this ability to think outside the box, the Texans and Browns pulled off a basketball salary dump trade. The Browns traded their 2017 fourth round pick to the Texans for Brock, while Cleveland also received the Texans’ 2017 sixth rounder and their 2018 second rounder. Houston saved 10 million in cap room and 16 million in cash owed to Osweiler. The Browns are on the hook for 16 million Brock-o-bucks this season, but are so far below the league salary floor they could trade for about 5 more Osweilers.
In other words, money was not an issue for the Browns. The 2nd round pick is what matters. Even if Osweiler never throws a pass for the team, which would place him alongside Cleveland legends like Charlie Frye, Brandon Weeden, Jeff Garcia, and Colts McCoy, the team will be glad to take in more young talent throough the draft. Hopefully whomever the Browns take with the Texans pick helps push the franchise back to mediocrity. As for the Texans down in Houston…..
They seem to have a slight problem. They now have no quarterback. Now, one may argue that having no QB is better than having an awful one, but at the least with Osweiler you had a plan, albeit not a well thought out or well executed one. But dag nab it, it was still a plan. The plan now? Hope that Tony Romo gets released by the Cowboys. Then hope he wants to take your money. Then hope he can stay healthy, which hasn’t happened since the Bush administration.
If all else fails, the back up plan appears to be Tom Savage. Now, despite his awesome name, Tom Savage is not good at football. He is a better quarterback than I am, and is more than likely the best QB currently on the Texans roster. But remember this, he’s been with the team for 3 years. If he was any good, would the Texans have really rushed out there and given Brock Osweiler “Scrooge McDuck” money?
Now, this could all be easily forgotten by the end of the season. Jay Cutler is a free agent, and who better to help you lose a first round playoff game with a soul-crushing turnover than Jay Cutler? And who knows, the Texans could draft a QB. Or pull off a trade, say for Jimmy Garoppolo type. Or pick at the veteran scrap heap (RG3, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cutler, Kaepernick, ect.). Only time will tell if a plan ever comes to fruition, but this year I’m really interested in how they’re going to go 9-7.