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PFF: Houston Texans Signing Brock Osweiler Was The Worst Move Of The NFL Offseason

The worst? As in, no other move by any NFL team topped it? Well, then. Battle Red Blog looks into the claim.

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"You know we're doomed, don't you?  PFF says so."
"You know we're doomed, don't you? PFF says so."
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Perusing the ol' Twitter feed this afternoon when what to my wandering eyes should appear but this:

Recall that PFF (specifically, Sam Monson, who previously endeared himself to Texans fans by opining that Aaron Donald, not J.J. Watt, should have won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award last season) is not the first to declare that the marriage between the Texans and their new quarterback will end poorly; indeed, Monson doesn't paint quite the apocalyptic picture Jason La Canfora did. Still, I was intrigued by the idea that literally no other move made by any other NFL team involving any other player was as rotten as Houston's decision to sign Brock Osweiler, so I clicked the link and read this

1. Texans handing Brock Osweiler a $72 million based on seven games

No move this offseason has the potential to torpedo a franchise quite like this one. The Texans have been faced with quarterback troubles for awhile, and so you can understand their anxiety about needing to find their franchise signal-caller. Given where they were picking in the draft, they had little to no chance of getting one of the top two available rookies, so they went all-in on free agency, instead. The problem, though, is that there wasn’t a sure-thing in free agency, or even close to it. The Texans ended up handing Brock Osweiler a $72 million contract based on just seven games of starting action in the NFL.

That would be risky if those were seven all-pro caliber games, but they were seven games of average play that saw him benched for a geriatric Peyton Manning—who, at times, seemed more likely to throw the ball to opposing players than his own last season—because Denver felt he gave them the better chance to win big games. Obviously Manning has a certain level of built-up benefit of the doubt, but even in a competition to simply steer the ship, Osweiler was second-best on his own team last season. Now Houston needs him to do significantly more than that.

In his 2015 starts, he recorded a passer rating of 95.9 when kept clean, completing 66.5 percent of his passes at 7.3 yards per attempt; when the heat was applied, those numbers fell to a passer rating of 66.9, a completion percentage of 52.2, and 6.9 yards per attempt. It is impossible to definitively declare that Osweiler will fail from the evidence we have of his play, but it is equally impossible to be sure of his success going forward—which a $72 million contract pretty much necessitates. Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans are gambling huge on Osweiler, which would be easier to accept had they not been so adamant a year ago that their quarterback group was far better than people believed.

As I've written on numerous occasions, it's fair to be skeptical of Osweiler succeeding in Houston, and you certainly won't hear me saying that Bill O'Brien's handling of the quarterback situation for his first two seasons here has been optimal. But to say that the Texans signing Osweiler was the worst move made by any NFL team this offseason?  In a world where two other teams sold the proverbial farm to move up for the opportunity to draft Jared Goff and/or Carson Wentz? Or, as Monson himself noted, when a team decided to select a kicker in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft? Or any number of other free agent contracts lavished upon players like Marvin Jones, Janoris Jenkins, Chase Daniel, Malik Jackson, or Olivier Vernon?

As Texans fans, are we blind to the truth? Or is PFF being unnecessarily harsh in its assessment?