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Houston Texans Sign Ryan Fitzpatrick to Fill "Underwhelming Veteran QB" Role

As NFL teams that matter continue to sign marquee free agents to cap swallowing contracts (Antonio Cromartie and Devin Hester on Thursday), the Texans continue to rummage through the free agency bargain bin.

On Thursday, they finally found a purchase to their liking in the bin marked "CRAPPY VETERAN QUARTERBACKS."

Earlier this off season, there had been rumors of interest in Matt Cassel. A week or so ago, Josh McCown had plans all set up to visit Houston before Tampa Bay tied him down and made him sign signed him to a deal. So on Thursday, the Texans finally pulled the trigger and found their veteran "stopgap" quarterback.

Welcome to Houston, Ryan Fitzpatrick!

We are a city that I would imagine holds a special place in Fitzpatrick's heart, for it was here that he made his debut during his rookie season in 2005, coming off the bench to rally the St. Louis Rams from a 24-3 deficit to a 33-27 win in overtime against a Texans team that would eventually finish 2-14.

This time, instead of helping the Texans finish 2-14, he is tasked with being part of the solution that helps them dig out from 2-14.

The Texans are Fitzpatrick's fifth NFL team, having started his career in St. Louis and then Cincinnati before experiencing his greatest success in 2011, when he led the Bills to a 5-2 start, throwing 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in the process.

The Bills promptly handed Fitzpatrick a six year, $60-million contract with $24 million guaranteed money, and he promptly finished the season 1-8 in his final nine games, leading the league in interceptions that season with 23 total. He played one more season in Buffalo before spending 2013 with the Tennessee Titans, starting nine games in the place of the injured Jake Locker.

According to John McClain, Fitzpatrick's deal is worth $7.5 million over two years with $4 million guaranteed.

So the questions most Texans fans have:

What does this signing mean for Matt Schaub? Probably nothing new. The Texans have reportedly been shopping Schaub in the hopes that some team's general manager will be drunk enough to give up a draft pick for the right to pay the worst starting quarterback in football last season $10 million in 2014. This process will continue, and if it doesn't work out, he will be cut. The Texans don't need the cap savings right now that a Schaub release would bring because they're not really doing anything that requires ample cap space.

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What does this signing mean for T.J. Yates and Case Keenum? Assuming the Texans draft a quarterback with one of their first two picks, it probably means one or both of them will be gone, and if one of them remains around, it will be as a third stringer. It also means there's one more quarterback on the roster for all of the Keenum fans in town for whom they can proclaim his inferiority to the Caser.

What does this signing mean for the Texans' draft plans? Well, the need for a quarterback certainly has not been diminished. If Fitzpatrick is the best solution on the roster right now (and for now, he is) then the only path to a major turnaround remains hitting a home run with whomever the team drafts to play quarterback.

So really, not much has changed, big picture. In short, other than a spectacular beard, nothing to really see here.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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