These are obviously separate deals, but I feel like I have to grade them together. Both deals are pretty appropriate values, as Hoyer gets 10.5 million over 2 years with 4.75 million guaranteed, while Mallett gets 7 million over 2 years with 1.75 million guaranteed. However, the fact that the Texans signed both of them essentially ended Ryan Fitzpatrick’s tenure in Houston (he was traded to the Jets for a 7th round pick right after these deals became official). I don’t like the Texans’ decision to move forward with both of these guys instead of one of them and Fitzpatrick.
It might sound weird, especially since Fitzpatrick is going into his age 33 season and got benched once last season for Mallett, but Fitzpatrick is coming off of the best season of his career and did not deserve to get benched or traded, especially at a salary of just 3.25 million. In the 11 games he started and finished, the Texans moved the chains at a 71.90% rate, as opposed to 66.06% in their other 5 games, when Fitzpatrick was out with a broken leg. I liked how Fitzpatrick fit in Bill O’Brien’s scheme. He was Pro Football Focus’ 12th ranked quarterback last season, completing 63.1% of his passes for an average of 7.96 YPA, and a 17:8 TD:INT ratio, all career bests. He graded out below average in every season from 2008-2012, with Buffalo and Cincinnati, but he’s graded out above average in each of the last 2 seasons, showing to be a bit of a late bloomer and a great fit from Bill O’Brien’s offense. He’s coming off a broken leg that ended his 2015 season prematurely, but he’s still better than Mallett and Hoyer.
Meanwhile, Mallett had 4 career pass attempts in 3 seasons as a 2011 3rd round pick before coming to Houston and lasted just 2 games in 2014 before going down for the season with a torn pectoral. He actually played one of his starts with that torn pectoral and, as you can imagine, it was a trainwreck, as he completed 21 of 45 for 189 yards and an interception. He was better in his other start, completing 20 of 30 for 211 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception, but he’s still completely unproven.
Hoyer is more experienced, but he’s not much better. Hoyer had his moments in the first extended starting experience of his career in 2014, but ultimately proved to not be anything more than a solid backup caliber quarterback. He completed 55.3% of his passes for 7.59 YPA, 12 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, while grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 35th ranked quarterback out of 39 eligible. The former undrafted free agent’s career numbers aren’t much different, as he’s completed 56.5% of his passes for an average of 7.23 YPA, 19 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions on 630 career attempts. He and Mallett will compete for the starting job in Houston in 2015, with 2014 4th round pick Tom Savage as the 3rd guy, but I think the Texans made a mistake not giving Fitzpatrick the starting job for 2015.