The preference for the Houston Texans and most fans is for them to pick their quarterback of the future in the draft with the second pick. However, there are some reasons to believe that this will not happen. For one, someone else will have the first pick. At this point, it belongs to the Chicago Bears and the Bears aren’t likely to take a quarterback, but teams like the Indianapolis Colts could trade up and take the Texans quarterback.
What’s also possible is that the Texans new head coach and Nick Caserio might not fall in love with Bryce Young or any other quarterback in the draft. They might prefer to go the veteran route for a year and kick the can down the road. They might swing for the fences and get their franchise guy now. Here are the guys available via trade or free agency that could qualify as potential starters.
Lamar Jackson— Baltimore Ravens
61 Games started, 63.7%, 7.4 YPA, 174.4 YPG, 63.4 RYPG, 101/38 TD/INT, 96.7 Rating
Pro: Jackson obviously was the league MVP and still is the most dynamic quarterback available should he hit the open market. His availability could range anywhere between unrestricted free agent and not available at all. The likeliest is that he would be available via trade once the Ravens give him the tag. If he plays under the tag he would not tie you down long-term. It would give you an out if you don’t think he’s the guy.
Con: Jackson did not play in Baltimore’s wild card game. He did not play for the last month of the season. He did not play all of last season either. Whether it is him or his style of play, Jackson seems to get banged up a lot. If he is going to get 40+ million per season you want him there for 16 weeks or more. It is quite a gamble.
Derek Carr— Las Vegas Raiders
142 Games Started, 64.6% PCT. 7.1 YPA, 248.0 YPG, 6.0 RYPG, 217/99 TD/INT, 91.8 Rating
Pro: Carr is definitely available and the Raiders are motivated to get rid of him. So, he might not cost you much in terms of draft capital. Carr is probably the closest thing to a healthy Matt Schaub that we have seen in the NFL. Before Josh McDaniels came along he was almost elite. Almost elite will get you into the playoffs and could get you a deep run if you have a top defense and running game.
Con: Selecting Carr puts you squarely in quarterback hell. Is he good enough to win with? He hasn’t been in Oakland or Las Vegas, but was that his fault? I don’t know whether he’s good enough and yet he is probably too good not to at least give him a few seasons to find out. Would you just be kicking the can down the road?
Jimmy Garoppolo— San Francisco 49ers
57 Games Started, 67.6% PCT, 8.3 YPA, 193.1 YPG, 3.0 RYPG, 87/42 TD/INT, 99.6 Rating
Pro: The 49ers do not want him back, so unlike Jackson or Carr he would only cost cash. Obviously, he has piloted a team to a Super Bowl and his rating is higher than any other quarterback on the board. Despite those facts, he likely would come cheaper financially than the other quarterbacks so you could afford to put a nice team around him.
Con: The performance of Brock Purdy (Mr. Irrelevant) demonstrates that Garoppolo’s performance is more about Kyle Shanahan than about Garoppolo. If the Texans feel they have another Shanahan on the offensive staff it could be a nice move, but if they don’t have that level of faith in their offensive staff he could turn out to be very ordinary.
Geno Smith— Seattle Seahawks
51 Games Started, 62.8 PCT. 7.1 YPA, 180.6 YPG, 17.2 RYPG, 64/48 TD/INT, 84.8 Rating
Pro: The numbers above don’t reflect the progress that Smith made this season. His numbers were closer to Garoppolo and Carr’s in terms of rating. Still, the Seahawks may want to move on. They have a high first round pick from Denver and may choose to use it on a quarterback if one is available for them.
Con: Smith was a pedestrian quarterback until this year. He might become a pedestrian quarterback after this year too. A lot will depend on what he has around him. He actually has a lot of talent around him in Seattle and he wouldn’t have nearly as much in Houston. His price might also be inflated after this season if more than one team thinks he could be their starter.
Baker Mayfield— Los Angeles Rams
69 Games Started, 61.4 PCT, 7.2 YPA, 226.2 YPG, 9.2 RYPG, 101/64 TD/INT, 86.5 Rating
Pro: The aggregate numbers don’t tell the whole story. Mayfield is the girl with the curl. When he is healthy and has good support around him he can be almost elite. When he is banged up or doesn’t have good talent around him he can be worse than Davis Mills. Mayfield will likely go for fixer upper prices which gives you the ability to add some talent around him.
Con: Mayfield has an ego bigger than Texas. If you get to the point where you want to move in a different direction that might present a problem. He may be willing to accept a one year deal to prove himself, but then that puts you in the same boat next year.