Every-Thing Sorts

GM O'Brien is growing on me

Photo via: Screenshot/@MarkBermanFox26

When news came of the Jadeveon Clowney trade to the Seahawks, I said it was another bad move. He gave away a freak of an edge rusher for some loose cigarettes and off brand soda. Trading yet another failure of a third round pick in offensive lineman Martinas Rankins to the Chiefs for running back Carlos Hyde was blah. Sure, you get something for a guy you were going to cut, but you got another guy who's been seen as a failure. He adds a big body to the backfield and depth in lieu of losing Lamar Miller for the season. Just when Texans fans were losing their minds on social media, Bill O'Brien said hold my beer. He acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Dolphins in exchange for Julien Davenport, Johnson Bademosi, two first round picks and a second rounder.

Going for it

THIS is the type of move a team makes when it's going for it! You have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson. He needs to be protected. When they failed to draft Andre Dillard and let the Eagles swoop in front of them, they went to plan B. Turns out plan B wasn't so hot because the two tackles they drafted, are now their starting guards. Go figure. Plan C seems to be the right move as Tunsil is under contract for two more years before he's eligible for an extension.

Chess move

Because Tunsil is under contract for two more years on his rookie deal, it allows you time before you have to pay him top five left tackle money. Tunsil is set top make $2.149 million and $10.35 million this and next season. He's widely considered a top 10 player at left tackle. You have to pay to play. Getting a guy this young of his caliber was going to cost you. The Texans have plenty of cap space to resign him and Watson when the time comes. This'll give your franchise quarterback a chance to truly realize his potential by him not having to run for his life. Much easier to play quarterback alive rather than dead. Stills adds a more reliable target opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Should Will Fuller or Keke Coutee get hurt (it's inevitable), Stills is a vet who can be relied upon.

No more excuses

I believe this is where the excuses run out for O'Brien. He's got a left tackle to protect Watson. Stills adds depth to an unreliable receiver corp. Hyde gives them a big back as Duke Johnson isn't a banger and Miller is out. Sure they could use some help at defensive back, and they lost Clowney off the edge, but this will help bolster the offense. If the defense can be slightly above average, this offense should put up points. Colts, Jags, and Titans are all ripe for the picking. This team is now squarely taking aim at the top contenders in the AFC.

Ultimately I think these moves will work out. In totality, O'Brien managed to move Clowney, a motherload of picks, and some scrubs for Tunsil, Stills, a third rounder, and a couple scrubs. In order to get to where you want to go, you've got to be willing to take some chances and gamble. This is a huge gamble. It's as if he pushed all his chips in the middle of the table and said f--k it! Gambles like these can pay off huge because you're getting a proven commodity at your greatest position of need. Yes, it hurt to lose what they lost. But what good trade doesn't hurt a little? Some of us could learn something here. Risks are risks because of the potential backlash. They become rewards if they pay off. Weigh your risk versus rewards and make a move. Can't live life hoping and wishing. Fans clamored for offensive line help. They trashed the Clowney deal. Now what? Let it play out. I for one think I'm going to enjoy the way this works out. Either the Texans will ascend into a real contender, or they flame out and O'Brien is fired. I think it'll workout for the better. This fan base could sure use it.

Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images

So what does Bill O'Brien have in store for a Sunday encore in the clock management follies department? All's well that ends well for the Texans if another Billy Botch episode comes with another win. Get it and home games vs. the Panthers and Falcons make 4-1 a very legit possibility.

The Texans have a good shot to get the win in Los Angeles Sunday. They may have half the crowd rooting for them. The Chargers have the lamest homefield advantage in the NFL. L.A. has largely yawned at them since their move up the coast from San Diego. In their home opener the Chargers couldn't sell out the 27,000 seat soccer stadium serving as their temporary facility. Next season they move into the monument of wow and greed they'll share with the Rams. That place will hold about 70,000.

On the field it's a big game for the also 1-1 Chargers if they hope to hang with Kansas City in the AFC West race. The Chargers' three following games are at the joke Dolphins, then home vs. the not good Broncos and the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

For the Texans, one major subplot is a constant. How porous will the offensive line be? Deshaun Watson has been sacked 10 times over the first two games. The Chargers have one of the NFL's better pass rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If the Texans can protect, opportunity knocks for big plays downfield with the Chargers down both of their starting safeties. Rookie All-Pro Derwin James is on injured reserve recovering from a broken foot, Adrian Phillips broke an arm last Sunday at Detroit.

Warm California sun

So if you were 300 strikeout man Gerrit Cole, what would you be thinking about re: 2020 and beyond? I mean after next month ideally helping the Astros win the World Series. And if you are the Astros what are you thinking?

In his two Astro seasons Cole has been tremendous. The ballclub is tremendous, and if Cole re-signs it that much more figures to stay tremendous for at least another couple of seasons. But Gerrit Cole is to become the most highly coveted free agent on the market. The low end of what he should be able to command is probably in the six years 150 million range. Heck, he could get seven years 250 million.

Next year the Astros payroll is set to soar into competitive balance tax territory. Meaning, in addition to the payroll itself, the Astros are looking at paying millions in penalties if they pay up to keep Cole. To counter that the Astros certainly could pivot and trade Zack Greinke. They basically will be open to giving away Josh Reddick and the 13 million he'll make in the final year of his contract.

Maybe Jim Crane and his partners say this is such a special era, we'll forego huge chunks of profits to keep this core together. That would be fantastic, but drawing a line on how far they'll go to keep Cole would not be miserly. Long term megadollar pitching contracts carry large risks. Cole turns 30 next season.

Cole grew up in Southern California. His wife too. It's where they live in the offseason. He went to high school under five miles from Angels Stadium and grew up an Angels fan. The Angels have a desperate need for starting pitching. Even with Cole though, the Angels can't essentially promise perennial contender status. But the Dodgers can, every bit as much as the Astros, and the Dodgers have much deeper pockets. If the Coles want to spend the rest of Gerrit's prime pitching years living year-round back home in SoCal, no one should take offense. Still, if the Astros’ bid is competitive when factoring in income tax rates, proven comfort level with the team, air conditioned comfort for home games…

Big weekend for Aggies

Better college football schedule this week after the garbage card of a week ago. The biggest game nationally is seventh ranked Notre Dame at number three Georgia. Big game for Texas A&M vs. Auburn at Kyle Field Saturday. The 17th ranked Aggies are three and a half point favorites over the eighth ranked team in the nation. A hard fought loss wouldn't be shameful, but would mean that with games yet to come vs. Alabama, at Georgia, and at LSU, the Ags would have to pull off at least one upset to finish better than 7-5. 75 million dollars to lure Jimbo Fisher were not spent to yield any 7-5 seasons.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Major Applewhite would have coached the Cougars to a 1-3 start much more economically for UH than Dana Holgorsen has. 2. The Tulane Green Wave wearing powder blue uniforms is just as dopey as the St. John's Red Storm and Duke Blue Devils wearing black. 3. Names that Houstonians should rule out for daughters: Bronze-Imelda Silver-Allison Gold-Alicia

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