NFL’s free agency period opened yesterday and almost immediately, many of the big names were taken off the board. The Houston Texans revamped their offense with three big moves of their own, signing Brock Osweiler, Lamar Miller and Jeff Allen.
Of course, my Twitter and text messages blew up instantly wanting to know how I felt about this. I had to sleep on it, but I think that overall, the Texans had a good day.
Matt Chernoff said it best. Free agency is about overspending to make up for mistakes you made in the draft.
The Texans have drafted poorly at running back, bringing in nice complimentary pieces to Arian Foster, but never locking up the heir apparent for the oft-injured Texans legend. It’s not so much that they have made bad choices at whom they drafted at quarterback, but more so the quarterbacks (Derek Carr, maybe?) they passed up for other pieces like Xavier Su’a-Filo who I still don’t think is any good. The offensive line has always been a strength of the Texans, but of late, they struggled.
Bill O’Brien has essentially cut ties with nearly everything that was left from the Gary Kubiak regime in a matter of three offseasons, which isn’t a bad thing. Duane Brown is still around and that’s all that matters.
Enter Jeff Allen. Allen is no Brooks, but he’s also no slouch. He is much stronger as a run blocker than an overall lineman, but he is still pretty darn good.
Texans take a chance on Allen’s strong contract year. Eagles will hope to get Brooks’ 2013/14 form. pic.twitter.com/OJFRZsaSXQ
— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) March 9, 2016
Take a look at that breakdown and you will see that despite Brooks being better every year of his career, Allen has thoroughly improved each and every season he’s played.
I love Lamar Miller. I thought Miami misused him for years and really underused him this past season. He will get the chance to be an every down back in OB’s system and should excel behind a decent offensive line and having a better pass attack than the 2015 Dolphins brought to the table.
This is a guy who averages 4.5 to 5 yards a carry, scores eight to ten touchdowns a season and grabs 35 to 45 balls as a receiver out of the backfield. Simply put, Miller is capable of doing it all, yet the Dolphins really never gave him feature back carries. Put it this way, Jonathan Stewart had almost 30 more carries this past season in three less games. While Stewart is good, he is about as much as an elite back as Miller is.
Hey, if John McClain likes it, every Texans fan should like it:
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 10, 2016
And that brings us to Brock.
Osweiler signed a four year, $72-million deal to be the Houston Texans starter of the future. $18-mill a year. Osweiler could very easily be the next Matt Flynn, but I think the Texans made the right play.
When you look at these back-up quarterbacks that turned small sample sizes into large paydays, you have to look at one glaring similarity. Names like Flynn or Matt Cassel, there is one thing that is very different between both of those two and Brock. They were never going to be starters.
Brock was the heir apparent to Peyton Manning. The Broncos were ready to move forward with Osweiler as their starting quarterback of their title defense in 2016. Cassel was never going to replace Brady and Flynn was never going to replace Rodgers.
That’s why Elway chimed off that he only wanted players that wanted to be in Denver. I mean, you do have to question why Osweiler would want to leave the starting role as quarterback of the defending champs, don’t you?
I think Osweiler made this personal. It was about being benched after going 5-2, beating the Patriots in the biggest game of their season, for Manning who was visibly inferior to Osweiler at that point. Brock sent a message. And now he wants to be part of a system that wants him.
O’Brien is a quarterback guru, much like Kubiak was in Denver, so Osweiler’s development shouldn’t take a hit. Unlike the Flynns and Cassels before him, Osweiler has DeAndre Hopkins. Nuk would make me a good quarterback, so Brock should settle in just fine.
The biggest part of the deal that is beneficial to the Texans is that it is front loaded. If he turns out to be a bust, the Texans can cut him loose and not suffer much cap penalty consequences. That’s why I think it is still imperative that they draft a quarterback this season.
Here’s the bottom line. Brian Hoyer‘s historic performance in the playoffs showed the entire NFL that the Texans were desperate for a quarterback. In order to draft a franchise changing quarterback, the Texans needed to trade up the draft board. Supply and demand rules the NFL, and other teams would have charged costs much higher — like future draft picks — for the Texans to move up, so instead of gambling away their future, they stayed strong with their draft selections and gambled financially. It’s a much better payoff this way, don’t you think?
Overall, the Texans offense is improved from last season. They have a feature back to replace Arian that has played in every game of the past three seasons. The have an offensive lineman that has improved every year that he’s played. And they have a quarterback that had as many turnovers in his small sample size of playing time as Hoyer had in the playoff game.
Welcome to Texans football.