Free agency is almost here, and beginning Tuesday afternoon teams will be shopping to fill holes on their rosters, and spending prices anywhere from "Rodeo Drive" to "bargain bin scrap heap."
Some teams like the Texans will hardly be spending at all, as they do what they can to keep their own free agents (some of them, at least) from bolting town and as they continue to prepare for May's draft.
Also, trades. There is still certainly a possibility that a trade or two could be made to fortify the Texans' draft position (i.e. get more picks) or shore up the quarterback spot.
And it's on that line of the transaction spectrum where we stop this week, the trade market, as we make our most recent update to our 2014 Texans Tracker.
To refresh, we unveiled the Texans Tracker last week, the purpose of the tool being to chronicle the rampant misguided speculation from anonymous (nonexistent?) sources across the Internet.
It had actually been a fairly quiet week last week since the combine ended, but that changed on Saturday night when we got our latest nugget of speculation about the Texans, their quarterback position, and in turn, the effect that would have on their selection with the number one overall pick in the draft.
At some point, the conjecture goes from being about the players being discussed to being about the conjecturers themselves, and it appears as though, thus far in the short history of the Texans Tracker, Mike Freeman and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report appear to be in a "crappy draft speculation" tennis match where the racquets are their keyboards, the ball is their inaccuracy, and the winner gets a lifetime supply of John McClain's scorn.
Other than a Russ Lande appearance on the Tracker the day after the Super Bowl, the Tracker has turned into the personal playground for Freeman and Miller to tout "sources" (high ranking and otherwise) and invisible beings from "around the league" as knowing precisely which direction the Texans are leaning at any given juncture.
Because inside sources will run, not walk to Bleacher Report to tell them exactly what's going on, I suppose.
Here's the latest, courtesy of Miller:
3/8/14 -- JADEVEON CLOWNEY with a side dish of RYAN MALLETT per MATT MILLER:
"What I'm hearing is the Texans are gonna go trade to get their quarterback. We all know [the Texans] wanted Matt Cassel when he left the Vikings, but then he re-upped with Minnesota, so now it sounds like Ryan Mallett might be the guy reuniting with Bill O'Brien in Houston. There's definitely talks going on between the two teams right before free agency kicks off, so Ryan Mallett to Houston is definitely something to keep your eye on...and if they shore up the quarterback position [with Mallett] then they would feel great about going with a guy like Jadeveon Clowney number one overall."
My favorite parts of this latest bit of "news" from Miller:
1. "We all know [the Texans] wanted Matt Cassel" We do? Says who? I love how everyone assumes that because Bill O'Brien was on the staff during the one good year that Cassel had in New England (which was six years ago, by the way) that we should automatically assume that the Texans were hung ho to bring Cassel in. Cassel has ranged from below average to abysmal the last two seasons. Amazingly, he still managed to get over on the Vikings, opting out of a $3.7 million deal this season to get them to re-up at two years, $10 million.
2. The headline "Sources Say Texans Could Trade for Mallett, Draft Clowney" Ah, there they are again! Those pesky sources saying the Texans could trade for Mallett, and could draft Clowney. Sure, they definitely could do both of those things...unless they do something else...which they also could do. In fact, they could do almost anything, right? They could trade for an actual mallet and draft an actual clown, and have the clown run around the offices over on Kirby hitting people in the face with his new mallet. Or he could hit Matt Miller. The clown could do almost anything....much like the Texans.
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3. Speaking of John McClain's scorn... The General weighed on on the Mallett Situation Sunday morning...
I told you last week Texans wouldn't be signing Matt Cassel. And they won't be trading for Ryan Mallett, either.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 9, 2014
For what it's worth, if there's a former Patriots quarterback from the O'Brien-in-New England Era that the Texans might make a move for it would be Cleveland's Brian Hoyer, who looked pretty good in a small handful of games for the Browns this past season before tearing his ACL. I'll take McClain's word for it since his sources are, y'know, actual people in and around the Texans' organization.