4:50pm: Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Mallett rumors hold some weight, and confirms that a deal may be completed soon. According to Smith, a potential trade appears to have no bearing on the first overall pick. Smith also tweets that Mallett may have to agree to a contract extension before the Texans would finalize a trade.
3:57pm: A league source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that “the buzz is real” about the Pats and Texans discussing Mallett (Twitter link).
3:36pm: Curran throws a bit of cold water on his own report, tweeting that a second source says there’s “nothing doing” on the Mallett talks at the moment. My guess is that if anything gets done, it will happen after tonight’s first overall pick — if the Texans trade down from No. 1, the team could still draft a quarterback. If Houston selects Jadeveon Clowney first overall, then maybe a Mallett deal becomes more probable.
3:31pm: The Texans and Patriots appear to be in discussions on a trade that could change both teams’ approaches to this week’s draft. Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com reports (via Twitter) that a deal sending backup New England quarterback Ryan Mallett to Houston “may soon be done.” In a second tweet, Curran adds that nothing’s official yet, but that “the machinations have begun.”
A report back in March suggested that the Texans had inquired on Mallett and had some interest in the former third-round pick, though at the time John McClain of the Houston Chronicle shot down the idea that Houston would acquire the Pats’ backup. Perhaps after taking a longer look at this year’s class of quarterbacks – and maybe deciding to go in a different direction with the first overall pick – the Texans are circling back to Mallett.
As for the Patriots, there have been rumblings that the team is considering drafting a quarterback this year, in part because Tom Brady probably only has a few more seasons left in him, and also because Mallett is entering a contract year. Taking a signal-caller on day two or three of this year’s draft could have provided New England with an insurance policy for Mallett’s potential departure in free agency — if the team decides to move its backup before the draft, a quarterback would become an even more significant priority.