Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith convinced the Cleveland Browns to take on his $72 million mistake for the cost of a second-round pick. The trade of Brock Osweiler surprised even Houston’s owner.
“It was a shocker to me,” Bob McNair told the Houston Chronicle on Monday from the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix. “It was unbelievable … I couldn’t believe that Rick was able to pull it off.”
In his first comments on the Osweiler trade, McNair noted that others around the NFL were surprised the Texans could find a taker for the disappointing quarterback with an onerous contract.
“Everybody around the league, their jaws are still hanging open,” he said. “It’s something no one thought (about), and I think other people have looked at that, and they’ve been trying to do the same thing without success.”
McNair was Osweiler’s biggest supporter during a disastrous 2016 season, yet even the owner backed the decision to move on. McNair cited the team famously not meeting with the quarterback before signing him to big money as part of the reason it didn’t work out.
“We didn’t know Brock well enough,” McNair said. “Coach (Bill O’Brien) didn’t have a chance to get to know him. That’s one of the problems with free agency.”
He added: “You need to know who you’re dealing with. In the draft, we’re able to bring them to Houston, sit down with them, watch them interviewed by a bunch of coaches, and you have time to check them out.
“You can’t talk to them before they become a free agent. You can’t work them out. We didn’t know him that well.”
“It’s important that we upgrade the play at quarterback,” McNair said. “Maybe we have a player in Savage, but that remains to be seen. We think he has the ability and could be that guy, but he hasn’t been healthy.”
The search for a franchise quarterback has consumed McNair and the Texans. It’s understandable when Matt Schaub is the greatest quarterback in franchise history — Brock’s 2016 season actually places him fourth overall in team history in total passing yards (Pop Quiz: Who ranks third in total passing yards in Texans franchise history? … Time’s up: Sage Rosenfels.)
Shedding Osweiler’s contract was a bold move. Winning the stare down with the Cowboys for Romo is the next maneuver to upgrade a playoff-caliber roster.