Davis Mills

Texans To Start QB Kyle Allen In Week 12

NOVEMBER 25: Despite this news emerging Wednesday, Allen said he was officially informed of his new role Friday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Allen and Mills split first-team reps this week.

NOVEMBER 23: Another member of the 2021 quarterback class will not keep his starting job into Week 12. The Texans are set to bench Davis Mills, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Lovie Smith declined to name a starter for Houston’s next matchup, but Garafolo notes Kyle Allen will receive the call. This will be Allen’s first start since a severe ankle injury ended his 2020 season. Allen, 26, has not taken a snap since signing with the Texans this offseason. This scenario was rumored to be on the table earlier this week. Mills will dress and work as Allen’s backup, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

This news comes barely an hour after Robert Saleh announced Zach Wilson‘s benching. The Texans are not in a similar situation, with their 1-8-1 record keeping them firmly on the rebuilding track. That would seemingly allow for more Mills growing pains. But the team may be finished with its evaluation of the former third-round pick. Wilson and Mills being yanked leaves only Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Mac Jones still starting from a 2021 QB class that had placed six players in QB1 roles to begin this season.

Smith reaffirmed Mills’ status as Houston’s starter last week, but the Stanford product struggled in a one-sided loss to the Commanders. The Texans totaled just five first-half yards in the 23-10 defeat, and Mills exited the game leading the NFL with 11 interceptions. He ranks 30th in QBR. Despite being a third-round pick, Mills has already made 21 starts for the Texans. This has given the franchise a reasonable evaluation window.

Mills, 24, made some surprisingly decent starts to close last season — considering the personnel he was working with at the time — and outflanked both Wilson and Fields in QBR as a rookie. Although Mills went 2-9 as a starter for a woeful Texans team in 2021, he quarterbacked wins over the Jaguars and Chargers in December and threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a close loss to the Titans in Week 18. Mills has not built on that momentum this year. While Saleh called the Wilson benching a reset, the Texans may be ready to move on after their subsequent decision.

Allen’s start count nearly matches Mills’; the former UDFA lined up as a first-stringer in 17 games for Carolina and Washington. He has completed just more than 63% of his passes (6.9 yards per attempt). A Texas A&M recruit, Allen also finished his college career at the University of Houston. He signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal this offseason to back up Mills. While Washington retained Allen via ERFA tender in 2021, the team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and then went to Taylor Heinicke the rest of the way following Fitz’s injury. The Commanders nontendered Allen as an RFA this year.

Houston is steamrolling toward the No. 1 overall pick, which would be the franchise’s first since it took Jadeveon Clowney first overall in 2014, and will be connected to quarterbacks over the next several months. The Texans also stand to have a high first-round pick by way of the Browns, who sent over a historic trade package for Deshaun Watson in March. This will give a team on a rather lengthy rebuilding track extensive options to fill this need come April.

Texans Considering Quarterback Change

The Texans finished with one first-half first down in Sunday’s one-sided loss to the Commanders, and a week after Lovie Smith indicated it was not time to consider making a quarterback change, the rebuilding team seems to be changing its tune.

Houston is considering benching Davis Mills for veteran Kyle Allen, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. Mills has operated as the Texans’ starter since late last season, when he replaced Tyrod Taylor. But after a game in which the Texans totaled five first-half yards, Smith may be ready to try something else. Mills and Allen are the only two quarterbacks on the Texans’ 53-man roster.

Have I watched the video a few different times? Yeah, and made some decisions on how we’re going to go forward,” Smith said Monday. “But you can probably understand, with all changes and anything that we do from week to week, we talk to the players first before we talk to you. We’re not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will.”

A third-round pick in 2021, Mills posted a better rookie-year QBR than draft classmates Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. Despite the Texans having Laremy Tunsil back and having drafted guard Kenyon Green in Round 1, Mills has not built off his strong finish to last season. The Stanford alum ranks 30th in QBR and leads the league with 11 interceptions. Admittedly saddled with an unspectacular pass-catching corps, Mills has not completed more than 60% of his passes in a game since Week 7.

Allen signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to back up Mills this offseason. Houston was linked to signal-callers in this draft, which seemingly would have dropped Allen to a third-string role, but the franchise passed on adding a young arm. This opened the door to a full-fledged Mills audition. Ten games in, the Texans may have seen enough.

A former UDFA who finished his college career at the University of Houston, Allen has a fairly extensive sample size as a pro starter. With Carolina and Washington, Allen has appeared in 21 games and made 17 starts. He has completed just more than 63% of his passes (6.9 yards per attempt). The 6-foot-3 QB led the 2019 Panthers to five wins, following Cam Newton‘s early-season foot injury, but suffered a severe ankle injury midway through the 2020 season with Washington. Allen, 26, has thrown just 19 regular-season passes since that injury.

The Texans benching Mills would seemingly signal the team is prepared to make a true post-Deshaun Watson quarterback investment. At 1-8-1, Houston is steamrolling toward the 2023 No. 1 overall pick. No other NFL team has fewer than three wins. The Texans could also have a second top-10 pick — via the 2023 first-rounder obtained from the Browns (3-7) — to use as trade-up ammo if they wish to go with a “best player available” approach with their own first-rounder. Heisman winner Bryce Young, Ohio State standout C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis are expected to be the top quarterbacks available in 2023, though these prospects will need to declare for the draft first. ESPN.com’s Todd McShay ranks Young, Stroud and Levis as next year’s Nos. 2, 3 and 13 draft-eligible QBs. Texans connections figure to emerge over the next few months.

Davis Mills To Remain Texans’ Starting QB

Sunday’s loss to the Giants dropped to the Texans to 1-7-1 on the season, leading to more questions about a potential quarterback change. As head coach Lovie Smith confirmed when speaking to the media, however, a switch will not be taking place.

Davis Mills has operated as the team’s No. 1 throughout the campaign, after he took on the starter’s role partway through his rookie season last year. The Stanford alum’s performance after being inserted into the lineup included 10 interceptions and 31 sacks taken. Still, his 66.8% completion percentage and 88.8 passer rating made it little surprise that he entered the post-Deshaun Watson era at the top of the depth chart.

Mills has seen statistical regression across the board this season, however. The 24-year-old was therefore the subject of scrutiny last month, but he received the backing of his head coach. Since then, the Texans have won just one game and struggled to find production on offense outside of rookie running back Dameon Pierce.

“I just don’t think it’s time, as simple as that,” Smith said, via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, when asked whether he would replace Mills. “We rotate pretty much at most positions… Quarterback position is a little bit different. We can’t turn the ball over. Acknowledging what we did [on Sunday] is not good enough and anytime we’re turning the ball over especially in the red zone it’s not good enough. But that’s where we are right now.”

Houston’s other options under center are Kyle Allen and Jeff Driskel, who is on the team’s practice squad. Mills therefore profiles as the QB with the highest upside in the group, making the Texans’ ongoing commitment to him an understandable one. Given the former third-rounder’s step back in production this year, however, along with the draft position Houston is likely to be in come the spring, it would be equally understandable if they select a franchise signal-caller in time for 2023.

Texans Sticking With QB Davis Mills

Davis Mills has struggled to build on a surprisingly strong rookie campaign. The Texans quarterback has tossed four interceptions over the past two weeks, leading some to wonder if his starting job could be in jeopardy. However, head coach Lovie Smith was quick to dismiss that notion, noting the QB’s ability to keep them in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.

“We’re not making a change at the quarterback position,” Smith said (h/t to Texans Wire). “The things we’ve talked about is with Davis leading us and whatever Davis and everyone, coaches, what we all need to do better. Did I just tell you we were in the fourth quarter? Do you know who our quarterback was that led us in position to take the lead there at the end? Davis Mills. He’s our quarterback.”

The 2021 third-round pick surprised many during his rookie campaign, completing 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Through four games this season, Mills has completed only 62 percent of his passes for 908 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions while guiding his squad to the NFL’s worst record (0-3-1).

The Texans had some uncertainty at the position prior to the Deshaun Watson trade, but despite opportunities to add to the position, the team decided to stick with their second-year quarterback. It would have been surprising to see the Texans move on from the youngster this early in the campaign, no matter the struggles. Plus, it’s not like Houston has many inspiring options behind him, with Kyle Allen serving as the QB2 and Jeff Driskel sitting on the practice squad.

Elsewhere in Houston, the team made a bit of a surprising move today when they cut tight end Pharaoh Brown, per Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com on Twitter. Brown inked a one-year, $3MM deal with the Texans this offseason, and he started each of the Texans first three games this season. After hauling in seven catches, Brown was inactive for Week 4 while dealing with hip and shoulder injuries. This move probably indicates that Brevin Jordan, who has missed two-straight games with an ankle issue, will be ready to return to a crowded TE room that also includes Jordan Akins and O.J. Howard.

Browns Unlikely To Pursue Jimmy Garoppolo?

Deshaun Watson‘s initial suspension length is unlikely to surface until at least next week, and even that announcement might not happen until the Browns break for training camp. But the likely appeal process should be expected to drag into August, complicating matters for the team that surrendered three first-round picks and change for the former Texans Pro Bowler.

The prospect of Jimmy Garoppolo serving as an emergency option for Cleveland, in the event the NFL does suspend Watson for a full season or close to it, has come up in recent weeks. But the team is comfortable with Jacoby Brissett guiding the offense in Watson’s absence, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, who said during an appearance on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes (h/t 49erswebzone.com) he is not sure the Browns will emerge in the Garoppolo mix.

[RELATED: How Will 49ers’ Garoppolo Saga End?]

Not long after acquiring Watson, the Browns traded Case Keenum — their backup of two years — and signed Brissett to a one-year, $4.65MM deal. Cleveland also gave up one of the top trade packages in NFL history for Watson. In addition to the first-rounders being dealt, the Browns gave the Texans a third-rounder (in 2023) and two fourths (in 2022 and ’24). The team’s draft capital may be an issue regarding a Garoppolo pursuit, Fowler adds. Baker Mayfield went for only a 2024 fifth-rounder, and the 49ers are in a somewhat similar salary spot with Garoppolo — attached to a $24.2MM base salary that becomes guaranteed in Week 1 — so draft capital being a hang-up is interesting here.

Brissett, 29, has 37 career starts under his belt; five of those came with the Dolphins last season. The former third-round pick averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt in Miami, though he fared better during the second of his years as the Colts’ primary starter. Garoppolo would certainly be a more inspiring option than Brissett, but the Browns may stand down.

Garoppolo, 30, has resumed throwing. The 49ers could stash him on the active/PUP list to start camp, if they want to both give the veteran QB more recovery time and/or sideline him as they negotiate a trade, but Kyle Shanahan said in June the 49ers would likely have their trade chip at practice instead of stashed on the PUP list. The 49ers excused Garoppolo from minicamp, but he was not ready to throw at that point.

The Seahawks loom as a Garoppolo option but are more likely to wait out a potential release. The Texans have been loosely linked to Garoppolo this offseason, with Nick Caserio having been in New England throughout the ex-Tom Brady backup’s stay there. But Fowler adds it would be a bit of a surprise if Garoppolo ended up in Houston, given the team’s interest in developing Davis Mills.

After the Mayfield trade, Cleveland gained more than $8MM in cap space. The team’s $48.5MM is $25MM north of any other team’s cap room, providing options in the event Watson is shut down for the season. (The 49ers’ $4.9MM in space ranks 30th on that list.) Watson being shelved for all of 2022 would cause his five-year contract to toll, making it a 2023-27 pact. The Browns structured the $230MM guaranteed deal to minimize Watson’s penalties in a suspension — one the team did not expect to be a full-season ban when it made the trade. Watson’s $1MM base salary would move to 2023, pushing the run of $50MM-plus cap figures to 2024 and beyond.

Texans Considering Round 2 QBs; Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo On Radar?

Although Lovie Smith voiced support for Davis Mills early in the offseason, GM Nick Caserio was noncommittal about the second-year QB’s starter status going forward. Everything Houston has thus far done points to Mills receiving another opportunity, but the team may make a late entrance to the quarterback market.

The Texans considered the prospect of trading back into Round 1 for Malik Willis, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Houston, which also liked Kenny Pickett, holds the fifth pick in Friday’s second round (No. 37 overall). Willis’ fall opens the door to a potential investment for a Texans team that can certainly afford to give a rookie quarterback a redshirt season, given where the Caserio-led franchise is on its rebuild track.

This draft producing the first one-QB first round since 2013 opens the door to teams making lower-cost investments tonight. Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, who is on the Saints’ radar, and Desmond Ridder qualify as potential second-round picks. North Carolina’s Sam Howell may well go off the board tonight as well. The Buccaneers, Vikings, Titans and Giants pick in front of the Texans in Round 2. There are some QB landmine spots here for Houston, which runs the risk of missing out on its preferred second-day passer by standing pat.

Should the Texans not take a quarterback tonight, two veterans are available in trades. The team is likely to explore a Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo addition, Howe adds. This would seem contingent on Houston not drafting Willis or another QB in Round 2. While the Texans are still fine with running Mills back out there in 2022 and did not consider drafting a passer with either of their first-round picks Thursday, per Howe, the team is not committed just yet.

The Panthers and Seahawks have been connected to Mayfield, with the former a bit more closely linked. Garoppolo’s market has yet to take shape, with the longtime 49ers starter still rehabbing from surgery on his throwing shoulder. The Texans were not interested in Mayfield when they traded Deshaun Watson to the Browns, but Howe adds the expectation of Cleveland needing to eat some of the QB’s fifth-year option salary ($18.9MM) has changed the equation. The 49ers’ asking price for Garoppolo remains too high for the Texans, however, though Caserio’s time with the ex-Tom Brady backup in New England does create a logical connection here — Garoppolo’s desire to end up with a contender notwithstanding.

Another wrinkle here is the 49ers’ willingness to keep Garoppolo through training camp. That could put the former Super Bowl starter in position to need another team’s QB injury to prompt a trade. Absent a reasonable offer, the 49ers are willing to carry Garoppolo’s salary ($26.9MM cap number) to camp, per Howe. This would hinder their ability to extend Deebo Samuel or Nick Bosa, but Garoppolo doubles as an insurance policy in case Trey Lance is not ready to take over.

More Details On Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes; Latest On Baker Mayfield

Though there were four finalists for QB Deshaun Watson before the Browns and Texans completed the blockbuster trade that sent Watson to Cleveland, as many as 10 teams were reportedly interested in Watson’s services. In remarks he made following the trade, Houston GM Nick Caserio would not say exactly how many teams made inquiries, but he did note that the interest went beyond the Browns, Saints, Panthers, and Falcons.

“I would say there was a fair amount of teams, but what we tried to do was bring the teams that had a legitimate interest, and that was based off the compensation that was presented,” Caserio said (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “I don’t want to get into the exact number, but there was a few more, however many teams than what everybody was reporting towards the end.”

Caserio’s comments confirm what had been reported all along: only clubs that were willing to meet the Texans’ steep asking price (three first-rounders and more) were granted permission to have an in-person meeting with Watson. While that seems like the only logical move in hindsight, it was quite a masterstroke by Caserio. Had he allowed Watson to meet with all interested clubs, regardless of proposed compensation, Watson may have decided to waive his no-trade clause for only one team, thereby undermining Caserio’s leverage. But as Florio observes, by having a “pre-qualifying” process, Caserio guaranteed that he would get what he wanted before Watson truly got a say in his next destination.

Per Florio, the Colts put feelers out to the Texans, but Caserio was not willing to deal Watson within his division. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that the Eagles remained interested throughout the process, but Watson was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause for Philadelphia, largely because he is friends with Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and did not want to take away Hurts’ starting job. Wilson adds that the 49ers also placed a call to the Texans last year.

Caserio suggested that reports on the Texans’ being interested in players as well as picks in a Watson swap were at least somewhat overstated, saying, “I would say other than three first-round picks, I would say probably the rest of it was a little bit of speculation.” Still, Wilson reports that if Houston swung a deal with the Falcons, Atlanta CB AJ Terrell would have been intriguing to Caserio, and if the Saints had been able to acquire Watson, New Orleans OLs Erik McCoy and/or Cesar Ruiz might have been a part of the package heading back to the Texans.

In the end, the Browns, who were initially believed to be out of the running for Watson, were able to acquire the three-time Pro Bowler because they were willing to give him a contract — five years for a fully-guaranteed $230MM, which Wilson reports includes a $45MM signing bonus — that other teams were not comfortable matching. We heard at the time the Cleveland-Houston deal was consummated that the financial side of the equation became untenable for the Falcons and Panthers, and Wilson confirmed in a separate piece that Carolina was resistant to a fully-guaranteed pact.

Cleveland may have felt compelled to make such a bold strike because of an unsalvageable situation with Baker Mayfield. Mayfield requested a trade while the Browns’ courtship of Watson was ongoing, and when it appeared that Watson would not waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a move to northeast Ohio, the Browns indicated they would not accommodate the request. However, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes, Mayfield had no intentions of playing for the Browns in 2022 even if the club had not acquired Watson, and that reality could have forced Cleveland’s hand.

According to Cabot, the Browns had made it clear to Mayfield’s camp that they would pursue a top-flight QB this offseason, but that they were content to run it back with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft if such a pursuit were unsuccessful. Because it had been upfront with him about its intentions, the organization believed it could eventually smooth things over with Mayfield. As we heard last week, though, Mayfield declined owner Jimmy Haslam‘s offer to fly out to Mayfield’s home to discuss the situation, which was a clear indication that there was trouble in paradise.

Cabot further reports that the Watson situation and the team’s comments that it was looking for an “adult” at the quarterback position — thus implying that Mayfield is not, in fact, an adult — merely represented the final straw. Mayfield was said to have issues with HC Kevin Stefanski‘s play-calling and scheme, and as Stefanski will retain play-calling duties in 2022, Mayfield was prepared to skip the Browns’ offseason program and minicamp in an effort to force a trade to a team that has an offense more conducive to his skill-set. As Mayfield is eligible for free agency in 2023, the upcoming season is obviously critical for him, both from a financial and on-field perspective.

We recently learned that Mayfield would prefer to be traded to the Colts. Cabot suggests that, if Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard is interested, he may require the Browns to pay at least some of Mayfield’s $18.9MM salary, and since Cleveland has no choice but to deal Mayfield at this point, the team’s leverage in that regard and in terms of trade compensation is fairly limited.

Both Cabot and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times confirm that the Seahawks may be interested in Mayfield but are genuinely excited by Drew Lock, who recently came to Seattle in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Broncos. As for the Texans, Caserio was non-committal when asked if Davis Mills, who started 11 games as a rookie in 2021 and who showed marked improvement down the stretch, would remain Houston’s QB1. Nonetheless, Mills is expected to open the 2022 campaign as the starting signal-caller, despite Caserio’s comments that the team is “starting from scratch” at the most important position in sports.

QB Rumors: Trubisky, Winston, Taylor, Lock

The Giants’ new head coach, Brian Daboll, worked with free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when they were both with the Bills last year (Daboll as offensive coordinator). Well, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Daboll has interest in luring Trubisky to join him in New York.

There’s been some interest in bringing Trubisky to Pittsburgh, as well, where a path to starting is much more clear. If Daboll’s familiarity with the sixth-year quarterback is able to attract him to the Giants, though, the head coach sees the potential for him to mirror the results of Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. A quick refresher: Tannehill arrived in Nashville in 2019 in a trade with the Dolphins. Tannehill started the season in the role of back up quarterback to the incumbent starter Marcus Mariota. After a 2-4 start to the season, Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill, who went 7-3 for the rest of the year and led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Daboll holds hope that, while Daniel Jones may retain the starting job in New York, if the need presents itself, Trubisky could provide the same effect as Tannehill.

Some other notes concerning quarterbacks around the league:

  • Another option the Steelers could be looking into, Jameis Winston is looking like the most likely starting quarterback for the Saints in 2022, according to Graziano. With Teddy Bridgewater headed to free agency, a return to New Orleans could be possible, and Winston may see some opportunities in testing the free agent market, himself. But Winston is a locker room favorite that saw success on the Saints before tearing his ACL midseason last year.
  • Tyrod Taylor lost the starting job in Houston last year to rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Mills expected to return to the starting position next year, the Texans do have interest in bringing Taylor back in the role of back up quarterback, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Taylor has chased starting jobs throughout his career and has seen some success at times. He may search for a new opportunity to start, but, if not, Taylor has shown professionalism several times in back up roles mentoring young quarterbacks.
  • After receiving Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson-trade with the Broncos, Seattle is considering the elements to Lock’s lack of success in Denver, according to Fowler. Some believe that the revolving door of offensive coordinators contributed to his struggles. Seattle is analyzing whether they believe in Pete Carroll‘s ability to develop Lock, who showed glimpses of promise in his early appearances as a Bronco, or whether they need to make moves for Deshaun Watson to win now.

NFL Coaching Notes: Rams, Brown, Bengals, Texans

While the Rams have lost Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips to Minnesota, it appears they won’t see their entire offensive staff dismantled. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson is expected to stay with the team with a bit of a promotion in title.

The Rams still have an offensive coordinator position up for grabs. Currently, the favorite to land the job is University of Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen. Coen worked on the Rams’ offensive staff for three years before spending last year in Lexington. He’s turned down multiple job offers recently to remain at Kentucky, but the opportunity to rejoin Sean McVay in Los Angeles may be too good to pass up.

Here are a few more coaching notes from the NFL starting with another note from the Super Bowl LVI champions:

  • Rapoport also reported that Rams’ running backs coach and assistant head coach Thomas Brown is expected to return to Los Angeles. Brown received head coaching interest from Miami and was a candidate to join O’Connell in Minnesota as offensive coordinator before Phillips was announced earlier today. Brown’s presence will provide McVay with some much needed continuity to his offensive staff.
  • The Bengals have hired Charles Burks from the Dolphins to become their cornerbacks coach, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. No word yet on the status of the Bengals’ cornerbacks coach from last season, Steve Jackson.
  • The Texans’ have hired Ted White with the official title of offensive assistant-quarterbacks. White had recently accepted the position of offensive coordinator at Grambling State University under head coach Hue Jackson, but Jackson will have to find someone else to fill the role. White has molded quarterbacks at Texas Southern, Southern, his alma mater of Howard, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Prairie View A&M. He’ll be tasked with the development of second-year quarterback Davis Mills.

Texans HC Lovie Smith’s Views On QBs Watson, Mills

The Texans have a new head coach in Lovie Smith, but they appear to be maintaining the status quo when it comes to their quarterback situation. He detailed the desire to handle the Deshaun Watson situation, and also voiced support of 2021 rookie Davis Mills in a conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer

[Related: Texans Hire Lovie Smith As HC]

Smith expressed optimism that a resolution will be coming somewhat soon with Watson. It is already well known that the team intends to trade him before the start of the new league year in March; Smith concurs that dealing him elsewhere would be the best outcome.

When asked about how quickly he wants the matter resolved, Smith answered, “As soon as possible… We’re patient, we’ve waited an entire year and I just feel like this offseason, it’ll come to an end and we’ll get it solved and it’ll be good for both parties, whatever that might be… We have a little bit of time, and we’ll get it done”.

Watson, 26, still has 22 sexual misconduct lawsuits that have yet to be resolved; between that, and his trade request, he sat out the 2021 season. Breer adds that if the three-time Pro Bowler is able to be dealt, there could be “a treasure trove of picks coming Houston’s way”.

With regards to Mills, Smith praised the third-rounder for his performance in 2021. “Of all those guys we played against, Davis played as well as any of those rookie quarterbacks”, he said. “I like his demeanor, how smart he is, and I like that he and [newly-promoted offensive coordinator] Pep Hamilton have been together for a year already. Those things should help us”. Mills ranked second amongst rookie signal callers in QBR, despite playing on the AFC’s second-worst team.

While Smith made it clear Mills isn’t assured to be the 2022 starter, he is certainly a supporter of his. Assuming the Watson swap does get done soon, Smith will be well positioned to move forward with, quite possibly, some much-needed continuity at the head coach and QB positions for at least the immediate future.