On Monday, the period during which NFL teams can engage other teams' free agents LEGALLY (that must be pointed out, since illegal engaging of them probably happens all the time) began, and if multiple reports are true, the Houston Texans were busy taking advantage of it prior to the beginning of free agency's signing period on Wednesday this week.
According to NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport, the Broncos expect Osweiler to assume the reins from the recently retired Peyton Manning this coming season, reportedly offering him upwards of $45 million over the next three seasons. However, it is believed the Texans have legitimate interest in the four-year signal caller, who started seven games this past season for the Super Bowl champions, going 5-2 in those seven starts.
While there's a very real chance that Osweiler and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, are using the Texans as leverage to maximize the Broncos' offer, let's assume for a moment that the Texans have a real chance at bringing Osweiler in. What does this all mean? A couple things:
1. It would certainly be a statement as to what the Texans' brass, Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith specifically, think of this crop of rookie quarterbacks beyond the top couple of prospects (Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz) and their ability to land someone capable of winning in the NFL within the next couple of years. The answer? They don't think much of this rookie class, which stands to reason as Bill O'Brien hasn't thought much of either of the other rookie classes since he became an NFL head coach two years ago.
2. Signing Osweiler would presumably make him the Day One starter, which indicates a heightened sense of urgency with the Texans, as their QB of the future would also be their QB in the now. This would theoretically also free them up to use their top few draft choices on needs other than QB — running back, tight end and safety, to name a few.
So now we wait and see if the Texans' solution at quarterback actually comes two months before the draft in which everyone thought they'd be taking their QB solution.
In the meantime, the Texans took care of some business on Monday, signing several of their own free agents to one-year deals to return in 2016:
CHARLES JAMES, CB
As the Texans closed out training camp and Hard Knocks finished up their five-episode series, here is where we saw Charles James...
Who knew that not only would James be back as a Texan in 2015, but that he would have 14 tackles as a cornerback, five special teams tackles and a pass break-up? And now James is being rewarded with a one-year deal to return to the Texans in 2016, a move that will no doubt resonate with Texans fans who have adopted James as a fan favorite.
JEFF ADAMS, OL
Adams, a tackle by trade, started the first two games of the 2015 season at left guard, before having his season cut short with a serious leg injury suffered against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. Adams returns to the Texans to provide depth along the offensive line, and with swing tackle Chris Clark garnering interest from around the league, Adams's return may prove crucial.
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SHANE LECHLER, P
The future Hall of Famer, in his third year with the Texans, punted for an average of more than 47 yards a kick and a 38.8-yard average net per punt. Additionally, he dropped 24 punts inside the opposing team's 20 yard line. Lechler turns 40 later this year, but can likely keep punting for another five to ten years if he so chooses.
NICK NOVAK, K
Novak was signed after a multi-kicker tryout that stemmed from the Texans' decision to part ways with former kicker Randy Bullock after the third game of the 2015 season. Novak would go on to make 18 of 21 field goals and 29 of 31 PATs. While bringing back Novak shows some degree of satisfaction with his work in 2015, I'd be shocked if the Texans don't have competition in camp for him, as Novak's inability to reach the end zone on kickoffs frequently led to big returns and, in turn, field position issues for the Texans.
Monetary terms of all four deals were not disclosed.
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