PLAN B?

Latest report provides backdoor path for Houston Texans to land franchise QB

Texans DeMeco Ryans
Trading for 49ers QB Trey Lance could be on the table. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.
Report: DeMeco Ryans has made a decision on Houston Texans defensive coordinator position

The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly received several calls from NFL teams asking for potential trades involving the former No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance.

With the 2023 NFL Draft fast approaching, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has become the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers on April 27.

The Houston Texans find themselves just one pick below at No. 2 overall. With a roster that has needs at multiple positions, trading for Lance could be an out-of-the-box solution for the team’s hole at quarterback.

General manager Nick Caserio told reporters on Monday the Texans will look at everything in an effort to make the best decision for the long-term of the franchise. With Houston holding two first-round picks, including the aforementioned No. 2 pick, there has been a lot of speculation on what the Texans will do if Young indeed goes to the Panthers.

There have been debates about taking C.J. Stroud, another top quarterback prospect in the 2023 draft, or scrapping going for a quarterback altogether and going defense with that top pick — in all likelihood Alabama’s Will Anderson.

For Houston, trading for Lance could potentially put the team in position to get the best of both worlds. Taking the top defensive prospect at No. 2 while also landing a potential franchise quarterback.

The great thing going for Houston is that it has a first-hand Lance expert as its head coach. DeMeco Ryans got to see a lot of Lance during the past two seasons with the 49ers, especially last year when he was heading into the season as the penciled in starter for the team.

Going against Lance as the defensive coordinator for San Francisco gives Ryans great insight on his strengths and weaknesses.

Assuming Ryans saw enough in the past two years to believe in Lance’s potential and give Caserio the green light to go get him, the Texans could come out of the NFL Draft weekend with multiple needs addressed at a bargain.

Lance has appeared in only eight games over the course of his first two seasons in the NFL. He has started in only four of those games, one of which saw him suffer a season-ending injury on just the second drive of the contest.

In his three full starts, he is averaging roughly 202 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, 0.67 touchdown passes and an interception a game.

The numbers leave a lot to be desired, but it is a short sample size. To put it in perspective, Peyton Manning also averaged 0.67 touchdown passes and 2.67 interceptions in his first three starts.

Now to be clear, there should be no direct comparison between Lance and Manning, but it is a good reminder that numbers are not always the end all be all.

What it does mean is that Houston could use Lance’s numbers to its advantage. With the 49ers potentially locked in to Brock Purdy as their franchise quarterback, Caserio’s pitch could center around Lance’s lack of a résumé, the ankle injury, and lackluster first three starts to lower his price.

Some quarterbacks that have been traded in the recent past include Ryan Tannehil, whom the Titans acquired by giving up fourth- and seventh-round picks, and Matt Ryan, whom the Colts gave up just a third-round pick for.

If Houston could snag Lance for at-most its 2023 second-round pick, which is the same price it took for the 49ers to land Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017 when New England knew it was sticking with Tom Brady as its starter, it could allow the Texans to address the defense and any other position it deems fit with picks No. 2 and No. 12.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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