NFL.com Ryan Mallett is on the move. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the New England Patriots have traded Mallett to the Houston Texans, according to a source. Terms of the deal are not yet known. The Patriots have been actively trying to move Mallett, who is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The former third-round pick has seen little action behind Tom Brady, attempting just four passes since 2011. The Patriots hoped to use the preseason as a showcase for the former third-round pick, even starting him in the team’s first preseason game. Mallett struggled, however, potentially hurting his trade value. He played just one series in New England’s preseason finale, another sign the team still had Mallett on the market. Now he’ll attempt to get on the field with the Texans. It’s a much better situation for the 26-year-old former Arkansas star, who no longer has to look up to a living legend on the depth chart. Ryan Fitzpatrick will open the season as Houston’s starter, with Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage also in the mix. Don’t be surprised if Mallett eventually sees game action for a Texans team searching for a passer they can trust.
This move is not a surprise, as the Patriots has a surplus of quarterbacks, and judging by rookie Jimmy Garoppolo’s play in the preseason he will be the heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England. The Texans are desperate for a starting quarterback, they are planning on going into the 2014 season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback, and Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage backing him up. Fitzpatrick will likely still begin the season as the Texans starting quarterback, but Mallett is familiar with coach Bill O’Brien from their time together in New England, so the transition time to Mallett may not be as long as some expect if Fitzpatrick struggles early. The Houston Texans have and excellent defense and talent at the skill positions, and if they can get halfway decent quarterback play, they could be a dangerous team in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL.
UPDATE: It sounds like the draft pick that the Patriots will receive from the Texans will be a conditional seventh round pick, which will become a sixth round pick, if he plays over 40% of the Texans snaps. Also, the Texans will release Case Keenum.