After months of rumors, the Texans finally acquired Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett on Sunday for a sixth round pick. They also waived former UH star Case Keenum, who struggled in eight starts last season and was ineffective in camp and preseason this year.
Mallett has played sparingly for the Patriots, with just four career passes. But he has excellent size (6-6, 245), a cannon for an arm and has the potential to be a quality starter. He is not the most mobile player in the world — Matt Schaub would probably beat him in a foot race — but he has a quick release and understands Bill O’Brien’s offense. He was an extremely productive passer at Arkansas, with 62 TD passes in two seasons against the best defenses in college football.
While he will likely start the season as the No. 2 quarterback, it’s not a stretch to think he will eventually get a chance to start. If so, it could potentially be a game changer. Mallett might not be anything more than a backup quarterback. But he also might be the answer for a team that has not had one at the position since Matt Schaub fell apart in late 2012. If he winds up being a better than average starting quarterback, the Texans could find themselves competing for the playoffs again much sooner.
As for Keenum, the local hero might land elsewhere. He would benefit from a couple years in the Canadian Football League working on his craft.
As for the Texans, they will enter 2014 with renewed hope at the quarterback position. They addressed a major need. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, but at least the potential is there. The Texans have a player who could develop into what they desperately need — a quality NFL starter. If that happens, it could make a major difference in what kind of team the Texans have moving forward.