The story always seems to be the same in Houston. A strong supporting cast with no quarterback. After the Brock Osweiler signing turned into a miserable failure and Tony Romo went to CBS, Houston is back at square one at the quarterback position. Which is devastating because it has ample talent to contend for a Super Bowl everywhere else on the roster.
Unlike many quarterback-needy teams, Houston’s solution cannot be tanking. There’s simply too much talent on the roster unless it gets hit with the injury bug. However, the Texans still have to get a quarterback. None they would consider are left on the free agency market — at least none that would suffice on a contender — which leaves them with three options.
The first is the draft. The Texans hold the 25th pick in the first, second and third rounds — likely outside the sweet spot for top quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and DeShaun Watson and second-tier signal callers such as Davis Webb and DeShone Kizer. If general manager Rick Smith decides he loves anyone in the draft, trading up remains an option — though the Osweiler trade burned some of their draft capital — or they could reach and go for Webb in the first round.
However, this is known to be a fairly weak class of quarterbacks. All four have questions surrounding them, and a potential trade up would likely prevent Houston from making significant gains through the draft in the near future. Drafting any quarterback whatsoever would also tie Houston’s Super Bowl chances to an unproven rookie. Is that really much better than tying their chances to Osweiler?
The second option is a trade. This would be a massive bet that, if lost, would likely cost Smith his job. But if it paid off, it could put Houston at the top of the league for the next decade.
The obvious candidate here is New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, though there are looming situations in Denver and Minnesota that could result in a trade and would likely require much less of a return from Houston. Of course, those come with stipulations as well. Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian would likely only be available if the team was confident in Paxton Lynch. Based on Lynch’s play last season, there isn’t much reason for general manager John Elway to feel that way and reports have indicated the Broncos will hang onto both Siemian and Lynch. Even if Elway was open to trading Siemian, the Texans would still be putting their hopes into a one-year starter who, at his best, was average last season.
As for Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater’s injury situation would have to be resolved before they think about trading either Bridgewater or fellow quarterback Sam Bradford. The Vikings will have to move on from one of the two eventually, but it’s unlikely we know Bridgewater’s status before the season. On the Louisville product, we heard he’ll be missing the entire 2017 season mere weeks before a video surfaced of Bridgewater passing, looking spry. Nobody can say with certainty what his situation is, but in terms of a trade, it’s pretty unlikely the Vikings would be shopping either quarterback before midseason. The idea of installing a quarterback in the middle of a season should be considered a last-ditch option.
The third option: stand pat. Start Tom Savage, hope he doesn’t turn the ball over, and hope the defense can carry you. This saves flexibility in case something better opens up (such as Tony Romo un-retiring), but this is a low-probability proposition. In reality, taking your chances with Savage is putting your hopes into a career backup who carries a decent injury risk. With Brandon Weeden the likely backup to Savage, this may be a nonstarter.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported yesterday that the Texans would likely draft a QB, going through Door A. Needless to say, this could be the most important pick in franchise history if it comes to fruition. Houston plays in the weakest division in the football and, outside of the quarterback position, there is Super Bowl talent. A solid QB will turn them into contenders. Whiff on the pick and it could be another 10 years before Houston is in this position again.