HOUSTON -- The quarterback carousel seems to be turning such that the Houston Texans wind up with Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, leading the way for Ryan Fitzpatrick to perhaps rotate to the New York Jets.
Mallett has signed, and Hoyer is leaning that way. He should be in the fold barring an unexpected shift when he speaks with the Jets.
This has all led to this question from many Texans fans: Why bring in Hoyer to compete with Mallett instead of keeping Fitzpatrick?
Here is some perspective on this union that I've gleaned in my reporting process.
The Texans know what they will get from Fitzpatrick, and it's not enough for them. In his 10th year, and seventh year starting at least 10 games, Fitzpatrick actually had some of his best numbers. His passer rating, completion percentage, and rate of interceptions were all the best of his career.
Despite that, he put the Texans in some precarious positions in many games. His mistakes came at inopportune times, and his performances often left something to be desired. It led to his benching for Mallett. The one notable exception was against the Tennessee Titans, when Fitzpatrick threw six touchdown passes (and introduced us all to his math whiz kid).
If, after 97 games over all and 12 with the Texans, Houston hasn't seen what they want out of Fitzpatrick, why continue down that road? If they already determined last season, after nine games, that Mallett was a better option, why try the same pair again?
What they will get in Hoyer is a player who only became a full-time starter for the Browns last season. He was buried on the depth chart in 2013, until a win against the Cincinnati Bengals gave the organization hope, but Hoyer tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the next game.
He played 2014 beneath the rather imposing specter of Johnny Manziel. His numbers were pretty good over the first 10 games of the season, both his passer rating and Total QBR were better than Fitzpatrick's during that span.
Ultimately, Hoyer's numbers suffered late. The subpar receiving corps, that I've mentioned before, was one factor. Another factor was the Browns' dependence on their running game to spur their offense, something that took a hit when Cleveland lost starting center Alex Mack to a broken fibula. That happened in Week 6, and the Browns promptly lost to the Jaguars the following week.
Hoyer's arm strength isn't like Mallett's, but it's better than he's given credit for. Hoyer attempted 66 passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air -- ranking seventh in the league -- and completed 43.9 percent of them, better than any of the quarterbacks who rank in the top 10 of such attempts.
Hoyer lost his starting job to Manziel last season, but a quarterback's future can be in the eye of the beholder. He and Texans coach Bill O'Brien trust each other. They have a history together, having overlapped in New England for three seasons. He likely sees this as his best chance to get a fair shot at starting.
He will get that shot, provided he signs with Houston, but it's no sure thing. Just as it isn't for Mallett. The quarterback competition will make for an interesting offseason.