Houston Texans Rumors & News

Texans Notes: O'Brien, Savage, Osweiler

The Texans plan to discuss a contract extension with head coach Bill O’Brien after next season, according to owner Bob McNair (via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle). The 2017 campaign will be the penultimate year of O’Brien’s contract, and he has thus far led the typically quarterback-weak Texans to three nine-win showings and two playoff berths.

Houston continues to be in dire need of help under center, of course, which McNair realizes. “It’s important that we upgrade the play at quarterback,” he told McClain. McNair did express confidence in incumbent starter Tom Savage, though he’s leery of the 26-year-old’s durability issues. “He’s played twice (in regular season) and gotten hurt twice,” McNair noted. “That’s our only concern with Tom. He’s smart enough. He knows the system. He’s got a good arm. I think he can get the job done, but if we depend on him, and he gets hurt in the first or second game . . .”

Savage is only atop the Texans’ depth chart now because of the horrid play of Brock Osweiler, whom they traded to the Browns earlier this month. The move was “a shocker” for McNair, who “couldn’t believe” general manager Rick Smith was able to dump Osweiler’s contract on the Browns (albeit at the cost of a second-round pick). Osweiler is just a year into the four-year pact the Texans handed him as a free agent last offseason. Featuring high cap hits and $37MM in guarantees, the deal quickly became an albatross, and McNair has a theory on why things went so poorly for Osweiler in Houston (via McClain). “(O’Brien) didn’t have a chance to get to know him. That’s one of the problems with free agency,” lamented McNair. “In the draft, we’re able to bring them to Houston, sit down with them, watch them interviewed by a bunch of coaches, and you have time to check them out. You can’t talk to them before they become a free agent. You can’t work them out. We didn’t know him that well.”

Texans brass, including McNair, all seemed to love Osweiler last March, but he then bombed on the field and didn’t mesh with O’Brien in his lone Houston season.

Broncos Backing Off Tony Romo Chase?

While multiple networks have now entered the Tony Romo equation, one suitor’s interest may be dwindling. The Broncos are not aggressively pursuing Romo, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com, who adds Romo now believes his options are the Texans or retirement (Twitter link).

Darlington notes the Broncos haven’t closed the door on Romo, but they may be a clear second behind the Texans at this juncture. Romo-pursuing talk has emerged from Denver more than Houston during this complex offseason for the soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback, but the Texans now have a bigger hole at quarterback and more cap space ($30MM to the Broncos’ $20MM) after making the unprecedented Brock Osweiler trade.

Romo has interest in the Broncos, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. It’s unclear if that’s dissipated to the point a Denver route is no longer a reasonable consideration. Earlier this month, the Broncos resided as Romo’s preferred destination. Darlington’s report points to that no longer being the case. Renck notes the Broncos are still expected to express interest in Romo once he’s released, reiterating the team has “zero desire” to trade for him. The Cowboys are likely hoping to make one final push at adding something in return for Romo when the owners convene beginning Sunday for their latest meetings.

A Romo deal with the Broncos would be expected to be for $5-$8MM in base salary, Renck writes, with incentives that would possibly enhance the quarterback’s 2017 compensation to $14MM — his current Cowboys base salary. Neither the Broncos nor the Texans have a quarterback set to count more than $2.2MM against the cap this year. Houston backup Brandon Weeden is signed to a veteran deal but is only set to count $1.6MM against the Texans’ 2017 cap.

Photo courtesy of PFR on Instagram.

Texans Not Interested In Jay Cutler?

The Josh McCown accord indeed means the Jets are out on Jay Cutler, with both Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noting (Twitter links) Gang Green’s $6MM fully guaranteed agreement means Cutler will have to look for his next NFL job elsewhere.

Another possible landing spot may not be in the cards for the 12th-year passer as well. The Texans have a glaring starting quarterback vacancy, but Rapoport tweets a Cutler/Houston setup is not an option. He adds the veteran may end up waiting for circumstances to change before signing with a team.

Cutler was slated to visit the Jets before the McCown agreement. That would have been the first-time free agent’s initial visit of the offseason. Said summit would have certainly featured questions about Cutler’s recovery from the torn labrum that ended his 2016 season. However, Cutler is not believed to be fully healed at this point, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Cutler underwent surgery in early December. Retirement talk also surrounded Cutler, but nothing along those lines has surfaced since Chicago cut him.

The Texans have obviously been connected to Tony Romo this offseason, especially after making their historic Brock Osweiler trade. But the Jets were the only team connected to Cutler since he became a free agent. Although, the 49ers were believed to have interest prior to the Bears severing ties with the soon-to-be 34-year-old quarterback. San Francisco, though, added both of Cutler’s backups last season in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Hoyer profiles as the kind of stopgap Cutler would at this point.

Houston currently has just Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden as its quarterbacks, so another signal-caller will almost certainly be added. If Cutler is indeed not a Texans contingency plan, the quarterback market thins out quickly. Former Texans starters Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum now reside in the top-five non-Cutler options as far as UFAs go. Although, Romo likely remains in a picture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Does Jerry Jones Not Want Romo In Houston?

  • Following news that the Cowboys were planning on releasing quarterback Tony Romo, reports indicated that the organization would instead try to trade the veteran. Florio wonders if the change of heart could be attributed to owner Jerry Jones‘ unwillingness to let Romo go to the Texans. The two teams aren’t technically rivals, but Florio believes the Cowboys owner doesn’t want to share viewers with another Texas team. Furthermore, if the Texans establish themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL with Romo, plenty of pundits will question the Cowboys’ logic to just cut bate with the quarterback. Ultimately, Florio believes that Jones is waiting for an offer to materialize at the upcoming league meetings.

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Details On Texans, Brock Osweiler

The Texans had no intention of bringing quarterback Brock Osweiler back in 2017, as Peter King of TheMMQB.com writes. Talks between Houston and Cleveland began at the scouting combine, per King, and the two sides ultimately agreed on a deal that sent Osweiler (and his contract), a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round pick. While the trade may work out for both clubs, it’s fair to wonder if Houston would have simply released Osweiler if no such proposal was created.

Week 17 Altercation Led To Osweiler Trade

A Week 17 altercation with head coach Bill O’Brien fueled the Texans to move quarterback Brock Osweiler, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

The now-traded quarterback “reacted negatively” to this news, according to Florio, claiming that the Texans were only playing him because O’Brien “needs him.” An argument ensued, and at one point, the coach apparently blocked Osweiler from exiting the office. The quarterback would subsequently say that he was “held hostage” during the confrontation. Previously, former NFL defensive back Bryant McFadden had said players and coaches had to hold O’Brien and Osweiler back.

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Contract Details: Campbell, Demps, Wheaton

Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).

Ryan Griffin To Re-Sign With Texans

Ryan Griffin reached an agreement to re-sign with the Texans, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. This will be a three-year deal for the fifth-year tight end. He was scheduled to visit the Lions on Monday, Berman reports. The pact will be worth just more than $9MM, with $3.2MM guaranteed, per Berman (Twitter links).

Darren Fells‘ signing with the Lions earlier today may have played into the 27-year-old pass-catcher’s decision-making process.

This process is absolutely wild. It’s crazy. A whole bunch of stuff happened,” Griffin said, via Berman. “The Lions signed Fells. The pieces fell into place for me to come back. The money was right.”

Griffin emerged as a key Houston pass-catcher during his fourth season, hauling in 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. Houston will again deploy the tandem of Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz in 2017, with the latter entering a contract year. A former sixth-round pick, Griffin nearly doubled his previous career-high figure in receiving yards last season, with Houston’s two tight ends combining for just more than 1,000 yards during Brock Osweiler‘s one-year cameo.

Prior to his increased usage in 2016, Griffin never caught more than 20 passes in an NFL campaign, so Osweiler’s penchant for feeding the Texans’ tight ends looks to have benefited one player, even if the team involved him in one of the weirdest trades in NFL history.

The Texans now have their core of 2016 pass-catchers retained for at least one more season but obviously have a question as to who will be distributing the passes in 2017.

Vikings, Texans To Meet With Mike Remmers

Offensive lineman Mike Remmers will meet with the Vikings today and Texans tomorrow, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). This is the first we’ve heard of these organizations having interest in the tackle, with the Lions being the lone team connected to the veteran (prior to their signing of Ricky Wagner).

After bouncing around the NFL over the past few seasons, Remmer found a home with the Panthers. After having played in six games over his first three seasons in the league, Remmers started all 32 games for Carolina over the past two years. This uptick in productivity certainly helped the free agent’s case, as PFR ranked the 27-year-old as the 10th-best free agent tackle.

In Minnesota, Remmers would join a tackle corps that includes Riley ReiffJeremiah SirlesT.J. Clemmings, Rashod Hill, and Willie Beavers. Meanwhile, the Texans depth chart consists of Duane BrownChris ClarkKendall Lamm, and Josh Walker.

Texans Trade Brock Osweiler To Browns

Whoa! The Texans are trading quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round pick to the Browns in order to move his $16MM salary off the books, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Facebook link). The deal will also see the Browns’ fourth-round pick go to Houston and the Texans’ sixth-round choice to go Cleveland. The Texans have made the deal official, announcing its completion via press release."<strong

This type of deal rarely goes down in the NFL and is more of an NBA or MLB type of transaction. In this swap, the Browns are absorbing an albatross of a deal in order to acquire significant draft compensation. The wheeling and dealing might not stop here: Cleveland is not committed to keeping Osweiler and is likely to try to trade him, sources tell Schefter.

On the other hand, maybe they’ll keep him. The Browns are expected to move on from Robert Griffin III and the Brock Osweiler acquisition should clear the way for that, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The move clears out tons of cap space for the Texans who are expected to use that money towards signing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Schefter writes. The deal saves $10MM in cap space for the Texans and $16MM in cash.

The Texans signed Osweiler to a four-year, $72MM roughly one year ago today with the hope that he would be their QB of the future. That, obviously, did not work out. Osweiler’s deal calls for him to earn $16MM guaranteed this year. After that, he has $18MM and $17MM non-guaranteed salaries in 2018 and 2019.

The Browns came into this week with upwards of $100MM to spend and Schefter writes that they would have struggled to spend all of it. Still, this seems like a very strange way to utilize that space. The only way this trade would make real sense for the Browns, in my view, is if they already have a final leg of the trade set up in which they deal Osweiler for something else of value. As of this writing, the Browns are spending $16MM in cash to acquire a second-round choice and that is not good business.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.