Hoyer Watch 2015: Mallett's (Likely) Future Backup Arrives In Houston
Monday morning, we had confirmation of free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer's agreeing to a deal with the Houston Texans, only to have the news retracted shortly thereafter. From there, we had buzz throughout the day on Monday that Hoyer was still interested in Houston, but the New York Jets were assembling a significant offer.
So we sat and waited, and on Tuesday morning, the Hoyer saga consisted of a whole lot more "close but no cigar yet" news on Hoyer's decision making process. Finally, Hoyer arrived in town Tuesday evening (the McClain/Berman welcome wagon greeted them at the airport, reportedly) so that he and his wife could take a look at Houston before deciding whether or not to sign here.
Never has so much commotion been made over a player who has accomplished so little. I'm half expecting a "Brian Hoyer: The Decision" special on ESPN tonight.
Either way, the free agency journey with Hoyer may be ending soon enough.
Hoyer arrived in town Tuesday night, knowing full well what the landscape looks like in Houston for him to become the starting quarterback here. At the very least, it will involve a competition with Ryan Mallett (a competition in which Hoyer is a significant underdog, I'd say +500), who officially inked his two year, $7 million contract on Tuesday afternoon.
As of Tuesday evening, Hoyer and the Texans have no agreement in place, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:
"There's rules put in place by the NFL," Hoyer said in an interview with FOX26 Sports and the Houston Chronicle. "So you can only do so much. Your agent handles it. Now that it's past the deadline, I'm here getting a chance to meet with these guys and go forward."
Clearly, wherever Hoyer ends up signing will become his next home, as he and his wife are doing their due diligence on Houston's quality of life:
"I think through this process you want to collect as much information as possible," Hoyer said. "For me being married and having two little kids, to come down, see the area. I've only been to Houston twice. One time was when I was with the Patriots and we were playing against the Texans. The other time was for the East-West Shrine Game. To come down and get as much information about football and non-football and then go forward."
With no agreement in place with Hoyer, as of Tuesday night, the Texans depth chart at the quarterback position is exactly the same as it was when Mallett took over as the starter in November: Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tom Savage. A Hoyer signing would likely mean the end of Fitzpatrick's career as a Texan, as the team may look to move him to a team in need of a veteran backup.
In related quarterback news, the Texans actually did trade a quarterback on Tuesday afternoon, trading Case Keenum to the St. Louis Rams for a 2016 seventh round pick. Earlier in the day, the Texans had made a tender offer to Keenum, who was set to become a restricted free agent. The Rams, Keenum's employer last season after being cut by the Texans in camp, liked Keenum when he was on their practice squad and sought to bring him back.
So if you're keeping track at home, for the mere cost of the league minimum over a two week period, the Texans pulled Keenum out of a tree on his deer lease and got two wins, no losses, and a seventh round pick for their troubles.
Not a bad deal, and essentially it makes them even, as that seventh round pick replaces the pick they originally traded to New England for Mallett at the beginning of the 2014 season.
In other Free Agency Kickoff Day news:
* As suspected, the Brooks Reed Era in Houston came to an end, with the fifth year outside linebacker inking a five year, $22 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, a surprisingly high figure for a player who didn't really make a lot of impact plays over the last couple years. Reed's agent had indicated over the weekend that Reed's return to Houston was unlikely.
* In former Texan news, Owen Daniels, to the surprise of few, signed a three year, $12 million deal to rejoin Gary Kubiak in Denver, and will likely become the starting tight end for the Broncos next season. Also, tackle Eric Winston reached an agreement to return to Cincinnati and play for the Bengals, where he signed in season last year. Winston will likely back up starters Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth.
* The Texans re-signed restricted free agent linebacker and special teams ace Jeff Tarpinian. Tarpinian, who arrived in Houston as a street free agent in 2013, has played in 22 games as a Texan (3 starts) and led the team in 2014 with 12 special teams tackles.
* Among available free agents, the Texans have most been linked to former Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter, who reportedly will visit Houston after a visit to Tampa Bay, and former Patriot nose tackle Vince Wilfork, whose familiarity with Romeo Crennel is believed to be a big selling point in securing his services.