The Houston Texans went long in the free agent market yesterday – signing Denver Broncos “backup” quarterback Brock Osweiler and Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller. The moves are intended to fill two gaping holes in the Texans offense with current QB Brian Hoyer being widely viewed as a capable second stringer at best and the backfield being open following the release of running back Arian Foster.
Red rates the Miller move as a solid decision to pick up a proven running back who has averaged 4.6 yards per carry on weak to mediocre Dolphins teams. Miller also comes in at age 25 (for next season) without too much wear and tear. He has 638 carries in his 4 year career. The last two seasons, Miller also showed himself as a capable receiver averaging over 40 catches. He should be good enough to keep the job for 3-4 seasons if used wisely. Miller has said he wants 20 touches a game. If the Texans are smart, it will be about 15 and Alfred Blue will continue to get work in relief. The $26 million – 4 year deal for LM is not a budget buster. On the proverbial scale, Red weighs this one in at 7.5.
The Osweiler deal is another story. The Texans busted open the bank with a 4 year – $72 million contract for the unproven BO. The sports talk empire in Houston was naturally abuzz over the move with the local sports wags mostly buying the company line. Red has to break with Charlie Palilo, Red’s preferred drive-time radio man, on this one. The Texans have placed at least 10 of the dozen eggs in the Osweiler basket and Red thinks the bottom may not be as strong as beleaguered Texans GM Rick Smith calculates. For those interested, here is what $72 million buys these days. If BO turns out to be a less injury-prone Matt Schaub 2.0, then the deal is probably just on the high side of okay. But for fans expecting Osweiler to take the Texans to the next level (which would be making it to the AFC Championship game), Red thinks probably not. Which means for ol’ Billy Bob Texansfan, this move is likely to disappoint. Safe to say, however, that Rick Smith and Coach Bill O’Brian have staked their careers in Houston on this move.