With Tony Romo deciding to leave the NFL (at least for now) to join Jim Nantz in the CBS booth to call games, Jay Cutler is now the best free agent quarterback available this off-season. The former Chicago Bears signal caller might actually be be the best player that’s at least somewhat available at the position, since the New England Patriots are, seemingly, unwilling to trade Jimmy Garropolo, With that, there is one team that should absolutely look at signing Cutler. The Houston Texans.
The Houston Texans Signing Jay Cutler Makes Too Much Sense
The Texans have been at best treading water and at worst drowning (Brock Osweiler) at the quarterback position for a number of years. That has been the reason they have failed to make a run in the playoffs. This off-season they got rid of (traded in an obvious salary dump) Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns and now appear to be going into the 2017 season with Tom Savage as their starting quarterback. Nothing against Savage, but Texans fans can’t be that excited about the prospect of entering the season with him under center, especially when Brandon Weeden is the only other quarterback currently on the team’s roster. Plus, if Savage is so good the Texans wouldn’t have been so eager to try to sign Romo if he was released by the Cowboys.
Houston has a good receiving corps (led by DeAndre Hopkins), a talented running back (Lamar Miller) and a great defense (led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney). What they don’t have is a quarterback and it is basically impossible for a team to win in the NFL if their quarterback play is below average. Houston has had below average (sometimes downright poor) signal callers for a while now and it’s time to upgrade, even if Cutler wasn’t their first choice.
If the Texans love a quarterback in this year’s draft class they should absolutely select said player, if they are available when Houston picks. But Houston may not be really sold on any of the quarterbacks in the draft this year, or the guy they wanted might not be available by the time they are on the clock (their first pick is 25th overall). If they are not sold on a quarterback in this year’s draft it would make all the sense in the world for them to get a deal done with Cutler. They could sign him to a two-year deal and possibly take a quarterback in next year’s draft, which is deeper at quarterback than is this year’s.
Signing Cutler now and possibly drafting a quarterback next year would allow the Texans to compete this season in the somewhat weak AFC, with a veteran quarterback, while also possibly preparing for the future through the draft. Cutler has had his issues (turnovers, he can be moody and he’s coming off shoulder surgery), but with him under center and the other pieces Houston has around him, the only AFC team that would be decidedly better (at least on paper) than the Texans heading into the 2017 season would be the Patriots. The Oakland Raiders could possibly be as well, but it will be interesting to see how the future move to Las Vegas will affect the Jack Del Rio’s team this season.
Teams With a Great Defense and Good QB Play Can Win Super Bowls
This is not to say that Cutler is a Super Bowl winning caliber quarterback. But, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in spite of Peyton Manning, not because of him. And the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII behind an impressive defense and because Joe Flacco played incredibly well during the playoffs. Cutler can be inconsistent, but he’s capable of putting together a postseason run like Flacco’s. If Cutler is signed and he can play anything like Flacco did and the Texans defense keeps doing what they’ve been doing, that could be successful recipe.
Houston has the pieces in place to make a deep postseason run, except at quarterback. And unfortunately a team must be at least markedly above average at signal caller to really contend. Cutler could be that guy for the Texans, and he’d certainly be better than anyone the Texans have trotted out under center in a long, long time.
Not every team that needs a quarterback would want, or be a good fit for, Cutler. The Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets are both a mess, for example. Cutler needs to go where there is strong leadership (like J.J. Watt), a really impressive defense and good weapons on offense. Houston has all of that.