The Houston Texans have had quarterback issues since the first game of the season. In that game versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Brian Hoyer was yanked in favor of Ryan Mallett due to his poor play. He eventually would get the job back. And during that time, Mallett found himself getting cut after missing a team flight to a game in Miami. But Hoyer would miss some games along the way this season due to concussion issues. And when he did, he was replaced by quarterback TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden (acquired off waivers from Dallas). The Texans were able to get it together enough to win the AFC South and make the playoffs. Despite playing with four quarterbacks this season, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a spectacular season. His 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns were even more of an amazing feat considering the inconsistent quarterback play and the lack of someone to take the pressure off of him offensively. All the success and hard work to make it to the playoffs was all for naught though, as they faced the Chiefs again and were beaten 30-0. The score was ugly and so was the performance of quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was healthy enough to play in this one. The veteran quarterback from completed only 44% of his passes and threw four interceptions. Needless to say, that performance did not leave the Texans and their fans feeling good about the state of their quarterback position. So going into the offseason, quarterback is one thing that they definitely need to address. There are many ways the many ways the Texans can address that position. But here are a few that may have a chance to happen.
The way the Texans are constructed, they need a quarterback right now in hopes of them getting to the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl next season. With no time to waste, they could go get a veteran quarterback immediately. One guy that could be available is Peyton Manning. The Broncos made it apparent that they are trying to move on from Peyton this year. But Brock Osweiler never cemented himself as the unquestioned starter there after he replaced Manning. So Manning has a shot again right now in the playoffs, but it is not likely that he will be back in Denver. But don’t look for Manning to retire just like that. He could be released if the Broncos commit to going in a different direction. And when or if he is, look for the Texans to give him a call. Even though Manning is not the same guy he once was, he still is better than the quarterbacks they have right now. And even with him and his playoff history, he will give them a better chance to win games when they count. Of course, the Texans would have to work out the financials and knowing Peyton, the money will have to be there for him to make this move. But the good thing is he would have a good defense with him and all the defenses he would be facing in the division would not be that good.
But Manning is not the only option of the veteran variety. Drew Brees is still an option that could be out there. Of course, it all depends on if he and the Saints can work something out. Brees has a $30 million salary cap hit next season and New Orleans has to figure that out. Although it may not look like they will, it could still happen. If it does, that will take him off the market and he will retire as the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. But if they are not able to work something out there, then he could be available to anyone. The Texans do have some cap concerns when it comes to Drew and they would be essentially trading for him on a one-year deal (barring an extension being worked out in Houston before a deal is done). Adding him to what they have offensively would make them even better than they are now. Like Manning, Brees is older. But unlike Manning, he has icewater in his veins when it comes to playoff time. Brees and that defense along with Hopkins would be a good fit and would definitely be something to take the Texans to the next level, especially with those defenses in that division.
Manning and Brees are two options, but there could also be a younger free agent on the market. The Broncos could decide to go the other way and keep Manning in Denver (although highly unlikely). If they do that, then Brock Osweiler will be available. The young quarterback got a chance to play this season and show that he has some skills. But unfortunately for him, he was pulled in favor on Manning in the last game of the year. And there could be some hard feelings there from him towards the organization. If that is the case or not, there will be teams looking for him on the free agent market. And with the Texans needing someone to lead them, he could step in and be that guy. Of course he does not have much experience as a starter. Hoyer has more honestly. But the potential of what he can do is something that could help this team. The other bad thing is that he may not be an instant hit there if he came to Houston. It may take him some time to get used to the new system and that may be time the Texans do not have. If he does not catch on as quick as they would like, then he could be catching the first thing smoking out of town.
Other than players that are currently in the NFL, there is also the draft. Texans head coach Bill O’ Brien was a coach at Penn State before he came to the Texans. And when he was there, he recruited and coached a quarterback named Christian Hackenberg. Well, Hackenberg has decided to make himself eligible for the draft this year. Seeing that he is familiar with the Hackenberg, it could be possible that he drafts his former college quarterback to his team. The acclimation to the NFL would be sped up because of the familiarity with O’Brien’s offense. But the familiarity could only carry Christian but so far. He has the arm strength and the mental capacity to be an NFL quarterback, but is he too shell-shocked to do it? When O’Brien left Penn State, new head coach James Franklin came in and coached the team. And in doing so, the offense there exposes Hackenberg to hit after hit after hit. And because of that, he may be shellshocked. If that is the case, then he will not be very good in the NFL and will be about as good as another quarterback O’Brien drafted, Tom Savage.
The Texans have a situation on their hands and they have to get it rectified. They have not had a quarterback in the whole Bill O’Brien era and it’s time to solve that riddle. But it will be interesting to see which way they go. Will they go with a veteran, a young up-and-comer or a rookie? We shall indeed see what the braintrust of the Texans decides to do.