The frenzy that comes with NFL free agency has kicked into high gear and the Houston Texans were right in the middle of things. Not only did the Texans part ways with their most decorated offensive player, they also made some moves regarding their quandary at quarterback.
As had long been expected, and dreaded by many in the Texans’ fan fold, Houston parted ways with wide receiver Andre Johnson on Monday. Johnson had two years remaining on his contract and would have accounted for $13.1 million in salary cap space in 2015. His 12-year run with the Texans is the longest in franchise history and includes 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards.
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"“It’s just the nature of the business,” Johnson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson before his release from the team.”I will go somewhere else and play, and hopefully I can do well for them.”"
Johnson didn’t stay on the market for long. He reportedly signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. Ironically, the Colts just recently parted ways with their veteran star receiver Reggie Wayne.
There has also been some moving and shaking in the Texans’ crowded quarterback stable. Ryan Mallett has removed all doubt that he will be wearing a Houston uniform come September by signing a two-year deal worth $7 million. Also joining the ranks of the QB hopefuls for the Texans is Brian Hoyer, who reportedly reached an agreement with Houston for two-years worth $10.5 million. Tom Savage, last year’s fourth round pick is still in the mix as well.
On a side note, Is it just me or has Houston become the new landing spot for New England quarterback Tom Brady‘s former back ups? Both Mallett and Hoyer held the clipboard on the Patriots’ sidelines during the 2011 season.
On the way out the door are quarterbacks Case Keenum, who will be wearing a St. Louis Rams jersey for the 2015 season, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was traded to the New York Jets for a late round draft pick.
After the dust settles from all the QB switching and swapping there will likely be a healthy competition for the starting job once the Texans report to camp. Mallett was named the starter for Houston in week 11 of the 2014 season, but his season was ended by injury on November 23.
Savage started briefly for the team after Fitzpatrick suffered a broken leg. Hoyer is coming off a turbulent year for the Cleveland Browns where he was sometimes booed in favor of the Browns’ high-profile draft pick, Johnny Manziel.
"“I have no doubt in my mind that I can be a starter. I have a chance to do it in a great city,” Mallett commented after signing his new deal with Houston."
Although the Texans have certainly made their presence felt so far in free agency, there are more deals to be struck before the teams report for workouts. At least it appears that the front office folks at Houston aren’t afraid to make the moves they believe are necessary to improve and get over the playoff hump in 2015 and beyond.