The Texans made a huge move on the first day of free agency, landing Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler. It was a bold, strong high risk, high reward move, the kind of play the Texans have rarely made.
Osweiler has a limited sample size of work, but he showed promise. He has excellent size (6-7, 240), a solid arm, and decent mobility. He should be a perfect fit for what Bill O’Brien likes to do with his offense.
Osweiler was the best available option for a team that is close. He’s also a bit of a throwback — a highly regarded draft pick who has had a chance to develop over four years. He should be effective right off the bat, more so than a draft pick.
The Texans also bolstered their backfield with former Dolphin Lamar Miller, who should be a capable lead back.
Osweiler played in nine games last season, with a 61.8 percent completion rate, 10 TDs and six interceptions. He was inconsistent at times, but also showed flashes of being a franchise quarterback.
And the Texans are paying him to be that; reportedly four years, 72 million at roughly 18 per year. That’s the going price for a starting quarterback. With any unproven quarterback, there are risks. It could easily be a failure. And if it is, the Texans will probably be hitting reset on the head coach and general manager.
But if it works, and Osweiler can give the Texans the kind of production Matt Schaub did in his prime, it should elevate the team from a 9-7 fringe playoff contender to a team that should be a contender in the AFC.
It was a risk well worth the reward. The upside? You get Joe Flacco. The downside? Another Ryan Mallett. But the high end made the move well worth it.
Miller is a solid running back who should solidify the backfield. He won’t be Arian Foster in his prime, but Foster isn’t that anymore, either. Miller’s deal is fair for a No. 1 back — four years, 26 million.
The also reportedly landed former Chiefs guard Jeff Allen, who replaces the departed Brandon Brooks, who will sign with the Eagles. Allen will come at half the cost and with his versatility could easily match Brooks’ production.
The Texans still have holes to fill, but now they don’t have to reach or gut their draft for a quarterback.
They lost center Ben Jones to the Titans, but Jones is imminently replaceable. Brooks is a loss, but for the price the Eagles paid and with the addition of Allen, the Texans are better off. Still, the offensive line is a concern, but they needed depth there anyway and a few new pieces can’t hurt.
Wednesday’s action reshaped the Texans offense and changed the needs for the rest of the offseason.
Realistically, besides the offensive line, they need help at tight end, a second receiver/kick returner, another safety and some defensive line depth. That’s not a lot, and there is still plenty of free agent action to come. And the draft is now an area where the Texans can go back to taking the best available player. Expect Brian Hoyer to be cut to free up more cap room. The Texans now have Osweiler and Tom Savage under contract, and could consider drafting a project QB or bringing back a Brandon Weeden or T.J. Yates.
But they now have a starting quarterback, the biggest need for the franchise since Schaub melted down. The move might not work out. But it was the best possible move for the franchise. And Texans fans now have real reason to be hopeful.