If you’re Bill O’Brien, you know that tethering your head coaching fortunes to Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater isn’t like affixing them to Andrew Luck.
So you look for options.
One of the options for O’Brien and his Texans is a trade for some other team’s backup. Which led Houston to reach out to the Patriots about the availability of Ryan Mallett, according to Nick Underhill of MassLive.com.
Underhill underscored that the talks were just that -- talks. Not negotiations.
If the Texans were smart, though, they’d ramp those up.
To me, Houston or any team with a quarterback need in this year’s draft should be bothering the Patriots about Mallett.
He was a first-round talent in 2011 that dropped to the third round because of off-field concerns. In three years with the Patriots, he’s been the understudy to the best quarterback of his generation and -- to our knowledge -- hasn’t done a thing to raise an eyebrow.
He’s 25, has been through hundreds of NFL practices, understands the professional game, has a stronger arm than any quarterback coming out this season and has been forced to stare through the glass at what it’s like to lead a team. Meanwhile, the Lockers, Gabberts and T.J. Yateses of the league have all had their turns on the main stage.
If you think Manziel might be motivated to prove people wrong, imagine how Mallett feels after three years in professional purgatory.
The Texans hold the first and 33rd overall picks. The first-rounder would be out of the question. It’s hard to make a case for the 33rd. Mallett was the 74th overall pick in 2010 and hasn’t really had the chance to prove he was under-drafted.
Additionally, any team dealing for him has just one contracted year with him since Mallett’s deal expires after 2014.
It’s a very workable number -- $776, 976 -- but a one-year rental in exchange for a third-round pick who, potentially, would be a valuable three-year player in your system is overpayment.
If they move Mallett, the Patriots will need a backup plan. In terms of guys who’ve worked under Brady, Matt Cassel just re-signed with Minnesota and Brian Hoyer will be getting his shot with Cleveland. But there’s always Tim Tebow…
So that’s really what the Patriots have to weigh. Do they let their Brady insurance go in exchange for a fourth or fifth-round pick? And do they feel any responsibility to do right by Mallett and give him his chance in a good situation, which Houston would be (my belief is they would).
The draft is May 8. There’s no great urgency on Houston’s part to make a move now. But it makes too much sense for all parties for it to just go away.