When we look back at the Bill O'Brien era, however long it may wind up being, we will hopefully look at the next several years fondly as the age of Osweiler, a period of Texans football that brought the franchise to new on-the-field heights. That all remains to be seen.
However, one segment of the O'Brien era officially closed on Monday. The first two years on O'Brien's watch will undoubtedly be remembered for the Revolving Door of Quarterbacks, and the face of that period of Houston Texans football, if put to a vote by Texans fans, would likely be Brian Hoyer, whose four interceptions were the kindling and the gasoline on the Dumpster fire that was the Texans' 30-0 playoff loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Sunday, we learned, courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle , that the Texans plan to release Hoyer today.
The writing for this transaction has been on the wall since the Texans completed their successful pursuit of free agent Brock Osweiler, inking the former Bronco backup and sometimes starter to a $72 million deal back in March. Metaphorically, that deal walked Hoyer to the door.
The subsequent re-signing of backup Brandon Weeden, who won his only start of the season in beating the Colts in Indianapolis (a franchise first) in December, to a two-year, $4 million deal was the nudge out the door. The Texans also have Tom Savage under contract for two more years.
Quite simply, for a guy like Hoyer who represented one of the O'Brien era's worst afternoons, there was no need to keep him.
Hoyer was brought in by the Texans last March on a two-year, $10.5 million deal just days after they re-signed Ryan Mallett to a two-year deal of his own. From the start, O'Brien contended that the quarterback position was an open competition, yet it appeared as though Hoyer was the favored nation between the two signal callers.
This was confirmed on Hard Knocks in the final week of August...
Hoyer's career as a Texan was rocky from literally his very first throw, an interception to begin the season opener against the Chiefs. (Yeah, the Chiefs were a BIG problem for Hoyer.) Two more turnovers later, Hoyer was replaced by Mallett, who would go on to start the next four games before Hoyer reclaimed the starting job following a Thursday night loss to the Colts in Week 5.
From there, it was a jagged road for Hoyer, who statistically had the best season of his career (19 touchdowns, 7 interceptions), but those numbers masked the reality that the biggest moments of the Texans' 7-2 finish occurred with street pickups T.J. Yates (touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins to win the Bengals game) and Weeden (the win in Indy) under center.
The 30-0 playoff loss to the Chiefs, in which Hoyer was throwing interceptions as if he were a JUGS machine at a Chiefs practice, was the last straw, and in an odd silver lining probably served to accelerate the Texans' urgency in bringing in Osweiler.
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Unlike with other disposable quarterbacks of the O'Brien Era — Matt Schaub (held over from Gary Kubiak's time here), Yates, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum — the Texans were apparently unable to get any other teams to part with a draft pick or player for Hoyer's services, although this is admittedly probably the worst part of the NFL calendar to try to move a backup quarterback, with no teams desperate because of QB injuries and with the draft coming up in two weeks.
Assuming the Texans exhausted all trade avenues (as is their duty), with the team returning for workouts today, there was no reason to keep Hoyer around, taking up space and reps, if he was no longer in the plans. His $4 million salary for 2016 was not guaranteed, and the Texans will take no salary cap hit for releasing him.
Offseason workouts begin today at NRG Stadium.
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.