As soon as the New England Patriots drafted quarterback Ryan Mallett out of the University of Arkansas, nearly everyone around the NFL saw the move as a tactical selection of a future trade chip. Blessed with unbelievable arm strength but a lack of maturity, not many saw Mallett as the heir to the throne held by Tom Brady. Now, as Mallett enters the final season of his rookie contract, and Brady still expected to play another two or three solid years at the least, there is growing speculation around the rumor mill that the Patriots will finally look to move Mallett prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. The latest one involves the team with the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Houston Texans.
With that being said, I hope that Patriots fans are not expecting the Texans to deal that pick for Mallett, because that is not even a slight possibility.
Of course, there is a very good chance that the Texans would consider dealing a second round pick in this year’s draft to the Patriots in exchange for Mallett. Back in his New England days, new Houston head coach Bill O’Brien saw what Mallett was capable of when he was the offensive coordinator in 2011. While Mallett has seen limited action in any regular season games, a trade to the Texans makes more sense than others, as O’Brien has a deeper knowledge of what his future may bring as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Either way, talks right now are being described as strictly exploratory, not even reaching the preliminary stage involving any specific parameters. The bottom line is that if the Texans are considering Mallett – provided the price is right – then one would assume that they are not enamored about the possibility of drafting either Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel with the No. 1 overall pick. Previous rumors involved the Texans having an interest in signing another former Patriots quarterback in Matt Cassel, but he decided to remain with the Minnesota Vikings.
To me, that means that the Texans would far rather acquire a quarterback already in the NFL and draft South Carolina standout Jadeveon Clowney to book-end with J.J. Watt on the defensive line than groom a rookie signal caller in the first round.
From a New England standpoint, it makes great sense to trade Mallett before he can walk as a free agent after this season. Due to his potential, at least one or two teams would go after him as a possible franchise starting quarterback if he were to hit free agency. If he is not the answer for the Patriots, why not trade him now instead of watching him walk away with nothing in return?