Houston Texans: 10 Quarterback Options Following Tony Romo’s Retirement

Houston Texans

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) runs onto the field during introductions before game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Since Tony Romo is officially out of the picture, here are 10 options for the Houston Texans to consider at quarterback for the 2017 season.

Even before the trade that sent Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans were already considering the possibility of figuring out a way to bring Tony Romo on board for the 2017 season. For a playoff-caliber team that has been in desperate need of a quarterback over the years, Romo seemed like the perfect quarterback to at least fill the need for the next two or three seasons to give the Texans a better chance of winning the Super Bowl.

Instead, Houston finds themselves in a tough position after Tuesday’s news surrounding Romo, and how the quarterback will be retiring from the NFL to join CBS as a broadcaster. Despite all of the rumors surrounding the Texans being one of the top destinations for the quarterback to land along with the Denver Broncos, this was kind of unexpected in a way since Romo seemed pretty determine to prove he was still capable of being an effective starter.

Now that Romo is officially calling it a career to join the broadcasting booth, Houston and Bill O’Brien must come up with a solution for the 2017 season if the team has any intention of winning the AFC South for the third season in a row. At the moment, all signs point to the Texans defense ranking near the top of the league once again, but last January’s playoffs are the perfect example of how the only way this team is going to reach the next level of contenders is if they improve on offense, especially at quarterback.

As much as O’Brien wants to see Tom Savage succeed, everyone knows there’s no guarantee for he has what it takes to be successful at the NFL level. With that being said, Savage deserves to be in consideration as much as the rest of the players on this list as it should be an interesting next few weeks for Houston when it comes to figuring out their situation at quarterback.

Dec 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

10. Tom Savage

As of right now, there’s every reason in the world to believe Tom Savage is going to be the starter for the Houston Texans at quarterback in Week 1, that is unless the team brings in another big name over the next few weeks through free agency or the draft. Keep in mind that when the Texans needed improvement at quarterback towards the end of last year while Brock Osweiler was struggling, it was Savage that Bill O’Brien felt confident enough to take the chance on with the team fighting for a playoff spot.

Most head coaches would never consider benching their starting quarterback this late in the season during a playoff run, but give O’Brien credit since Savage did help lead Houston to key wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals. And if it wasn’t for that unfortunate concussion suffered in Week 16 against the Tennessee Titans, there’s a good chance it would have been Savage lining up under center for the Texans heading into the playoffs.

Every quarterback certainly deserves the opportunity to prove they have what it takes at the NFL level, but there’s still some concerns surrounding Savage becoming the full-time starter for the defending AFC South champions. For starters, it’s difficult to trust a quarterback that has yet to throw a single touchdown pass at the NFL level like Savage has failed to do in the five games he’s appeared in since joining Houston in 2014.

Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) scrambles during the game against Buffalo Bills in the 2nd quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

9. Ryan Fitzpatrick

At this time last offseason, Ryan Fitzpatrick was in a battle for the New York Jets following an impressive 2015 campaign in which he set a career high with 3,905 passing yards to go along with 31 touchdowns. As impressive as these numbers were, Fitzpatrick fell back down to earth last year during a roller-coaster season with the Jets after only winning three games while throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

When taking all of this into consideration, it wasn’t a surprise to see New York pass on bringing Fitzpatrick back for a third season, but that doesn’t mean another team most likely won’t consider giving the veteran another chance. A fresh start with a new team may be just what Fitzpatrick needs to bounce back from last year’s disappointing season, and when looking at the weapons the Houston Texans would provide him on offense, it would almost seem impossible to fail.

Many believe one of the main reasons why Fitzpatrick took a major step back in 2016 was due to all of the workouts missed while battling for a long-term deal. Taking until the end of July to finally reach an agreement on a one-year deal seemed to hurt both parties, but hopefully Fitzpatrick can prove he still has a little gas left in the old tank before his time comes around to call it a career.

Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

8. Jay Cutler

After spending the last eight years as a member of the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler hopes to find a new home sooner rather than later since the team decided to part ways during the offseason. Otherwise, Cutler could end up joining Tony Romo in retirement, which would be a shame to see since he still seems capable of providing a team with a few solid years of play at quarterback.

2016 was a year to forget for Cutler after numerous injuries limited him to appearing in just five games with the Bears, and the team made the right move by releasing him a few weeks ago in order to begin a new chapter on offense with Mike Glennon. Only time will tell when it comes to whether the decision will pay off, but at least Cutler now has an opportunity to join a team capable of being Super Bowl contenders like the Houston Texans.

Even if Cutler has only recorded two winning seasons in 11 years along with a career high of 28 touchdown passes, it’s tough not to wonder how different his career could have been over the last eight years if he was playing on a different team than Chicago. At least when thinking about the possibility of a team like the Texans, Cutler would have a much better shot at reaching the playoffs for just the second time in his career.

January 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs past Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

7. Colin Kaepernick

Remember a few years ago when Colin Kaepernick was considered one of the league’s most dangerous quarterback due to his ability to be just as dangerous on the run? Times have certainly changed for Kaepernick over the last three years since he played a big role in the San Francisco 49ers being one of the top teams in the NFL, and now he hopes to find a new home before the start of the 2017 season.

Teams may be concerned over the extra attention Kaepernick brings to the table after refusing to stand for the national anthem all of last year, but he claims that will no longer be an issue next season, assuming he manages to find a home with a new team. Controversy aside, the thought of Kaepernick figuring out a way to return to his old self, and running an offense like the Houston Texans seems to have all sorts of potential.

With wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Kaepernick’s situation would be a major upgrade compared to the last few years in San Francisco if he ended up in Houston. The 3-16 combined record over the las two seasons may seem like a major reason for concern, but also take a look at the lack of help the 49ers failed to provide Kaepernick on the offensive side of the football.

Nov 19, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

6. Mitch Trubisky

There are plenty of teams in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft that are looking to possibly add a quarterback to hopefully build the franchise around. And thanks to Tony Romo deciding to retire instead of play during the 2017 season, the Houston Texans have all of a sudden become one of those teams.

Then again, even if Romo did join the team with the intention of only playing another two or three years at most, there’s a good chance the Texans would have looked at adding another quarterback in the upcoming draft anyway. Depending on what happens in the first round with other teams like the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is certainly a name to keep an eye on when it comes to Houston with the 25th overall pick.

He only may have had one year of starting experience with the Tar Heels, but Trubisky is drawing plenty of interest from the teams entering the draft in need of help at the quarterback position. Unfortunately for the Texans, there’s a good chance Trubisky won’t even make it this deep into the first round since he could easily be selected in the top 12 by the Browns or Jets, but maybe they’ll get lucky if falls further.

Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) warm up before the start of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo has to be one of the luckiest quarterbacks in the league at the moment when considering he’s already a two-time Super Bowl champion, and has only recorded two starts in three seasons with the New England Patriots. Obviously, that number of starts isn’t going to change anytime soon for Garoppolo since Tom Brady has made it clear he wants to play for at least a few more years unless he ends up joining a new team.

Over the last few months, Garoppolo has seen his name thrown around in numerous trade scenarios (mainly the Cleveland Browns), but the Patriots have been playing hardball with any team showing interest. New England realizes how much potential there is when it comes to Garoppolo, and even if the possibility of a trade seems like a long shot, the Houston Texans should at least figure out a way to possibly make it happen.

The beginning of last year may be a small sample size for Garoppolo, but it’s hard to deny how impressive he looked under center during the two starts made when Brady was dealing with his suspension. There’s a reason why the asking price is so high from the Patriots when it comes to possibly acquiring Garoppolo, but when seeing how close the Texans are to being a top AFC contender, it doesn’t hurt to at least consider the option.

New York Giants

Jan 1, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) scrambles against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Robert Griffin III

Unfortunately for Robert Griffin III, the former first-round pick has received a ton of criticism this offseason for his release from the Cleveland Browns. For a team that has been desperately searching for a quarterback to build the franchise around, and only recorded one win in 2016, how is Griffin supposed to feel confident about being successful in the NFL if he can’t even land a job with the Browns?

Of course, Cleveland didn’t exactly do the best job of giving Griffin the best weapons to work with, and he was limited to playing in just five games due to a devastating shoulder injury suffered in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. But that’s not going to stop Griffin’s motivation to find a new home for the 2017 season, even if he’s forced to settle for the role of a backup quarterback.

Despite how disappointing last year was for Griffin, it should be noted that he showed flashes of greatness at times with the Browns during the preseason, which was one of the reasons why there was a little hope at the beginning of September. If only his health wasn’t such a major issue, Griffin to the Houston Texans would seem like a move that would happen in a heartbeat since it seems like it would be worth the risk.

Matt McGloin Oakland Raiders

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

3. Matt McGloin

For a quarterback that had been waiting for the opportunity to prove himself over the last couple of years, it was a shame to see Matt McGloin suffer an injury in Week 17 for the Oakland Raiders since he would have been the starter for the team during the postseason. The Raiders emerged as one of the biggest surprises in football last year thanks to Derek Carr displaying an MVP type season, but a broken fibula late in the season prevented him from playing in the playoffs.

The sad thing for McGloin is he most likely would have found a home by now with a new team if he was healthy enough for Oakland in the postseason to help them advance beyond Wild Card weekend. By proving himself worthy in the playoffs, McGloin’s would have been much higher than it is at the moment, but the former Penn State standout still believes he’s capable of competing for a starting job, and he’s smart enough to know that will never happen in Oakland with Carr around.

Thanks to Tony Romo, the Houston Texans appear to have a starting job up for grabs, and when comparing McGloin to Tom Savage, it would certainly make for an interesting battle. At least from McGloin’s perspective, he would have a major advantage over Savage from an experience standpoint, especially since he’s still not looking for his first career touchdown pass.

Sep 1, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) against the Indianapolis Colts in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Colts won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

2. AJ McCarron

Just like Jimmy Garoppolo, AJ McCarron of the Cincinnati Bengals has seen his name mentioned in numerous trade talks since many believe he has what it takes to start at the NFL level. Of course, the main difference between the two quarterbacks is the asking price for McCarron would easily come at a much cheaper price since the Bengals wouldn’t have as much leverage to work with like the New England Patriots have with Garoppolo.

McCarron may not be experienced as much at the NFL level with only three starts since he was drafted by Cincinnati in 2014, but let’s not forget how much of a leader he was during his college days at Alabama. He may not have displayed the most impressive numbers on offense with the Crimson Tide, but McCarron was always considered a natural born leader running Nick Saban‘s offense.

As long as Andy Dalton is around, chances are McCarron is never going to receive the opportunity to start unless the Bengals quarterback suffers some sort of devastating injury. If it came down to only surrendering a draft pick to acquire McCarron from Cincinnati, the Houston Texans would be foolish to not pull the trigger on the deal.

Nov 5, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) drops back to pass against the University of Texas Longhorns in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patrick Mahomes

As mentioned before, the Houston Texans are one of numerous teams expected to strongly consider a quarterback from this year’s draft class to possibly build the franchise around. Depending on which player is still available at No. 25, the Texans may find themselves facing a tough decision when it comes to what position to focus on in the first round.

Mitch Trubisky is currently one of the top quarterbacks to consider, but Houston may have to accept the reality of the North Carolina star most likely being off the board by the time their selection comes around. If Trubisky is unavailable, the one name to keep an eye on is Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders quarterback is expected to fall in the mid-to-late first round when looking at all of the teams in need of help at quarterback, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mahomes still available when the Texans are on the board. The fact that Mahomes threw for 9,705 yards with 77 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Texas Tech is the perfect example of why numerous teams have expressed interest in Mahomes, and just imagine the type of impact he could have right away running Houston’s offense.

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