So this is why the word "unofficial" exists. Check the paperwork, people, lest you wind up like all of us in the media the last 48 hours who've been treating T.J. Yates's departure from the Texans as an outright release.
It all seemed so simple. Two quarterbacks, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates, battling to see who gets to hang around a little longer. Two men go in, one (Keenum) comes out.
Blogs then post video clips of their favorite T.J. Yates highlight (17 yard scramble against Cincinnati got my vote), teammates talk about how great it was to go to battle with him (and get skewered by sensitive newspaper writers), and we go through the formality of Yates' becoming a Baltimore Raven.
And on we all go with our lives. Or so we thought.
Because, on Wednesday night, came this:
Texans trade QB T.J. Yates to Falcons for LB Akeem Dent, per league source.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 19, 2014
Okay, that's weird. So what happened? Did both sides forget to say "1-2-3, no givebacks"? Did the Texans have their fingers crossed behind their backs when they first announced the Yates release? Well, as it turns out, that's part of the problem. (The Texans' announcing it, not their fingers being crossed.)
The Texans never did officially announce the release of Yates.
They just managed to have enough cracks in their information biosphere for news of their intentions to leak to the media, at which point apparently a miniature eBay session ensued for Yates's services among teams possibly being interested in trading for Yates:
So what happened Tuesday? Per the source, once word got out that the Texans would be releasing Yates, teams started calling to inquire about a trade. The Falcons, who would have been fairly close to the top of the waiver priority list, opted to make the swap in order to ensure they got Yates, especially since he could have been traded to a team lower on the pecking order.
In the process now:
1. T.J. Yates gets to (temporarily, at least) go play for his hometown team, as he grew up playing in the Atlanta area. It also allows him to compete for a spot on a depth chart that features Dominique Davis, Jeff Mathews and Sean Renfree as his competition behind the incumbent Matt Ryan.
2. The media gets to have a race to see who can be the first one to crack a "Yates has many playoff wins as Matt Ryan" joke -- always fun!
3. It is reinforced just how low the bar is for a player to technically have "trade value."
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4. Above all else, I can now dust off the old WWF song "Jive Soul Bro" and post the Titantron video for Akeem, the African Dream...
JIVE SOUL BRO!!