Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett will make his first NFL start ever on Sunday.
Mallett doesn’t have much of a track record. He has thrown four passes in his NFL career for 17 yards and an interception.
But he was a third-round pick in 2011, and since he has spent his entire career backing up Tom Brady, we really have no idea how good he is. Both Matt Cassell and Brian Hoyer have parlayed a job as Brady’s back-up into a job as a starter elsewhere. Now it’s Mallett’s turn.
The Texans signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year, $US7.5-million contract last spring after trading Matt Schaub to Oakland for a sixth-round pick. Fitzpatrick was the uncontested starter going into training camp.
On the eve of the season, the Texans pulled the trigger on a trade for Mallett. Since the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft, Mallett (who is on an expiring contract) became expendable and everyone knew it.
The Patriots just wanted something, anything for a player who was going to leave at the end of the year. Without any negotiating leverage, New England sent him to Houston for the remarkably low price of a conditional 2016 7th-round pick.
It was a low-cost, low-risk move for Houston. Even if Mallett didn’t play a down for them, getting a decent back-up quarterback for a 7th-round pick is a nice deal. Instead, they’re going to give Mallett a chance to prove himself for the first time in his NFL career. If he plays great, they have finally found their quarterback. If he stinks, it’s not like he cost him much anyway.
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