When the Houston Texans broke training camp last season, they did so with a two-man depth chart of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at quarterback. Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden was Tony Romo's backup in Dallas for the Cowboys. After Romo went down with a broken clavicle early in the season, and Weeden went to work on an 0-3 record as a starter, the last thing a Texans fan would surmise is that Weeden would somehow figure into the team's 2015 season, let alone any seasons going forward.
However, after Brian Hoyer went down with a concussion in the Bengals game, and after the team had already released Ryan Mallett and signed T.J Yates, the Texans in a pinch picked Weeden up off the waiver wire as insurance. The Browns and Cowboys castoff wound up playing a huge role down the stretch, relieving an injured Yates and throwing the winning touchdown pass in the historic win over the Colts in Indy, and following that with a start and a win over the Titans in Nashville the following week.
Last Friday, somewhat unexpectedly, the Texans decided to bring Weeden back for the 2016 season, presumably in a competition for the backup job behind newly signed Brock Osweiler. In fact, Weeden's contract with the Texans is a two-year deal that can max out at $4 million over those two years if he's on the game-day roster each week.
So what does this mean in the big picture for the Texans and Weeden? A few things...
1. Brian Hoyer goes from being 99 percent gone to 99.99 percent gone.
The rumor mill was already buzzing with imminent divorce news between both sides last week, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Now Hoyer's departure is a fait accompli. The only question is whether the Texans will find a trade partner (Jets? Broncos?) or if they will cut Hoyer. There are no cap ramifications for the Texans under either scenario, as Hoyer's $4 million salary is not guaranteed and he has no dead cap money on the books. The only thing that would keep Hoyer as a Texan would be Osweiler's and Weeden's getting abducted by aliens, which I put at a 0.01 percent chance of happening.
2. The Texans are not as enamored of Tom Savage as we may think.
Prior to the Texans' signing Osweiler, there was a better than puncher's chance that they would be starting the 2016 season with Savage as their starting QB, this despite the fact that Savage has played all of one half of regular-season football in two seasons and was on injured reserve all last season. Now, it would appear that Savage is the chalk to remain the developmental third QB, for the third year in a row, which may say everything we need to know about Tom Savage.
3. There is virtually zero chance the Texans draft a quarterback.
Even after they signed Osweiler, I was still an advocate of the Texans using a mid- to late-round pick on a QB, if their draft board broke the right way. I can go ahead and give up that dream. Osweiler, Weeden and Savage are going to be their quarterbacks.
4. Sometimes getting drafted in the first round ain't all it's cracked up to be...
I say this because in 2012, Weeden was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) and Osweiler was drafted late in the second round. That weekend in 2012, empirically it is better to be Weeden, right? Well, you would think, except that Weeden was drafted by the quarterback killing-est franchise ever in Cleveland, and Osweiler was drafted to be Peyton Manning's backup and learn at the hands of the master. Four years later, Osweiler is signing for four years and $72 million, and Weeden is getting two years and $4 million.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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