Say what you want, but the Houston Texans were capable of defeating the New England Patriots in the Divisional round on Saturday night. Houston played better than the Patriots in almost every phase of the game and managed to make Tom Brady look human.
The Texans’ defense, which is debatably the best in the NFL, made life miserable for Brady, which was exactly what they needed to do in order to have a shot at claiming an unlikely victory. New England gave Houston multiple opportunities to run away with the game and pull off one of the greatest upsets in playoff history. If the Texans had a better signal caller, the Pats would’ve been sent packing early.
What Brock Osweiler did against New England is exactly what he’s done all season in Houston; he committed costly turnovers to dig Houston a deeper hole than they were already in. His four-year, $72 million deal he signed with the Texans this offseason will now go down as one of worst free-agent signings in NFL history, and the Texans will be better off to have a new face under center next year if they want to contend for a Super Bowl next season, as their defense and run game are championship caliber.
Osweiler’s stat sheet on Saturday should properly paint a picture of how bad he hurt the Texans’ chances of winning. Not only did he throw three interceptions, he didn’t complete a pass for over 20 yards and averaged less than five yards per pass attempt. He was not only of no value to Houston, he was a liability.
The only logical reason Houston would hang on to Osweiler is his mammoth contract, and the Texans will have to pay him $19 million next season whether he’s on the team or not.
If Houston decides to part ways with Osweiler before the start of next season, his $6 million signing bonus he is owed will be tacked on to his $19 million cap hit, meaning Houston will owe him $25 million in 2017. At this point, Houston is better off to take the loss.
Osweiler’s roster spot would be better off used on a rookie who the Texans can develop to make an impact in the years to come. Keeping Osweiler around robs Houston an opportunity to put in a young gunslinger who might be the answer to their longtime quarterback woes.
The best Osweiler has done this season is play a neutral game, which is not the recipe to hoisting a Lombardi trophy in February. Houston officially has a problem with Osweiler and has nothing to lose by letting him walk.
The Texans will still have Tom Savage next season, who took the reins in Week 15 after Osweiler almost singlehandedly lost a home game against the abysmal Jacksonville Jaguars. The lone reason Savage, who was named the starter in Week 16, didn’t play in the postseason was because he suffered a concussion in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans. Savage, who is under contract for the next two years, will give Houston a cap hit of $675,146 and $765,146.
Houston should feel good from any perspective about moving forward with Osweiler’s replacement in the near future, as Savage showed more promise in his brief appearance in 2016 than Osweiler ever did. There is no point of keeping an expensive Osweiler around if he isn’t going to start. After all, the Texans have a better chance at winning when he isn’t taking snaps. Bill O’Brien came to this painful realization in Week 15 when he finally pulled a completely healthy Osweiler from an important game.
Although Houston will take a $6 million hit to rid themselves of one of the worst quarterbacks to ever wear a Texans uniform, they will at least have a fresh start at the league’s most important position, which is something they desperately need. Maybe a quarterback-needy team will claim Osweiler next season, which will take a chunk out of his $6 million signing bonus Houston owes him.
But the heart of the issue is Osweiler is 26 years old and has only started in 21 games in his career. He isn’t going to become serviceable before the 2017 season begins, and isn’t worth the cap space he takes up. Savage is Houston’s best bet moving forward and if the Texans draft a competent quarterback in the future, they will have a better chance to be an AFC powerhouse later on down the road.
Forget about the money for a second – if Osweiler puts a heavy dent in the Texans’ chances of becoming a dominant team, why would they want to have him fill a roster spot?