During the NFL combine, GM Nick Caserio stated the team is going to be adding to the quarterback room potentially through both the draft and free agency. Currently, the only quarterback on the roster is Davis Mills, and it's obvious his time as the starter in Houston is up. In our two-part series, we'll look at two different scenarios. Part one looked at free-agent quarterbacks to consider as starters, under the highly unlikely assumption that the team does not use the number two pick on a quarterback. Next up we'll look at veteran backups to consider when the number two pick is a quarterback.
Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns
The only quarterback to appear on both lists, Jacoby Brissett has been a consistent top-tier backup and spot starter for most of his career. He had a quietly good season this year and the Browns were competitive in most of his starts. It also was statistically one of the best seasons of his career. He would be one of the best backups in the league and could keep the team afloat in a bridge quarterback role or as a starter due to injury.
Andy Dalton, New Orleans Saints
At age 35, Dalton is not the quarterback he once was. However as a backup the past three seasons, he sports a 13-16 record with 6,556 yards and 40 touchdowns to 28 interceptions. Those are solid numbers for a backup who also can mentor the quarterback of the future. As a three-time pro bowler, he could fill that mentorship role nicely.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders
The Taylor Heinicke experiment appears to be over in Washington. The end result is that he is a high-upside backup or spot starter, but not a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL. Another quarterback with starting experience that also has shown an ability to scramble and extend plays. Houston could do much worse than Heinicke as a backup.
Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles
Minshew definitely has that fire in him and is extremely competitive. This past season he looked shaky in his limited opportunities, but he has flashed in the past when given the opportunity. He could provide real competition during training camp and push whichever rookie quarterback is drafted to have to take the job rather than just be handed it.
Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons
Mariota never lived up to his draft selection as the second overall pick in 2015, but he is still a lower-tier starter or high-end backup. At 29, he's shown he still possesses the speed to make defenses wary of him taking off. Aside from being a quality backup, he could work in a Taysom Hill-type role, playing out of the wildcat or as a decoy on trick plays.