Trade for Texans: I gave the Texans a bad grade for signing Brian Hoyer and re-signing Ryan Mallett because I thought they should have went into 2015 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback. That 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. However, once the Texans brought in Hoyer and Mallett, they kind of had to make this move, so I’m not giving them a terrible grade. I would have liked to have seen them get something a little bit more than a conditional 7th round pick though, after the solid season Fitzpatrick had in 2014.
Trade for Jets: As I’ve said, I like what Fitzpatrick did in 2014 and I think he’s showing himself to be a bit of a late bloomer over the past 2 seasons. At a salary of 3.25 million and the price of a conditional 7th round pick, added Fitzpatrick is a very good move for the Jets and he’ll be an immediate upgrade over Geno Smith. However, my one concern is that this trade reunites Fitzpatrick with Chan Gailey, formerly his Head Coach in Buffalo and now the Jets’ offensive coordinator.
Usually I like when players reunite with former coaches because of the familiarity aspect, but Fitzpatrick never did very well under Gailey’s tutelage as some of those poor seasons earlier in his career were with Gailey. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 29th ranked quarterback out of 37 eligible in 2010, 26th out of 38 eligible in 2011, and 35th out of 38 eligible in 2012, the three seasons he played under Chan Gailey. It’s possible he still continues to play solid football in 2015 with the Jets, but the risk of him regressing back with Gailey exists. They definitely won this trade though.