Every-Thing Sports

Here's what the Tyrod Taylor signing means for Deshaun Watson and Texans

The Texans have a plan in place. Composite image by Jack Brame.

There are moves a team can make that will galvanize a team and/or a fanbase. Then there are moves a team can make that'll make you wonder. There are also moves a team can make that'll leave a fanbase speechless for one reason or another. When news came down that the Texans signed quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a one-year deal worth up to $12.5 million dollars, it made waves.

The reason it made waves is because the Texans' franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson has been very vague about his desire to no longer play for the team again. He's been posting cryptic tweets filled with various rap lyrics, as well as scrubbing any mention of the team from his social media bios. It has gotten to the point that even the most hardcore Texan fans and supporters are fed up with his antics.

I never thought it would come to this. Watson has been universally beloved by this city. He could do no wrong. His heart-felt reaction to his contract extension this past September sealed his fate seemingly as he made it seem like this was the only place for him to play and be committed to bringing a championship. Fast-forward a few months, and things are drastically different.

Not only does he want out of Houston, but he's gone about doing so in a manner in which he's turned heel by the way he's chosen to do so. Had he done this quietly, respectfully and behind the scenes, the fanbase wouldn't be as upset as they are now. When JJ Watt released his statement saying he spoke with the team and demanded his release, fans weren't upset at all. They saw it as their long-time great seeking to ride out the twilight of his career in a winning organization instead of facing a rebuild here in Houston. Instead, Watson chose to leak info via his agent and make his intentions known via social media games typical of a disgruntled new age star.

When Nick Caserio signed Tyrod Taylor to the type of deal he did, it put the ball squarely back in Watson's court. Now, Watson can sit out if he chooses, and the Texans will have a respectable quarterback under center. The deal contains a $6 million dollar base salary and up to $6.5 million dollars in incentives. This speaks to Taylor's signing as him being a backup with incentives if he's forced into being the starter. He's a trusted guy to have in that position because he's a proven, reliable guy at a position that has become more valuable over the last few years.

I talked about this on ESPN 97.5 Houston and explained that I believe the grouping of quality backup quarterbacks in the league is bigger than the top tier of elite starters. There may be about five or six elite level quarterbacks in the league, but as many as six to ten backups teams would love to have as their backups. A serviceable backup can win a few games for a team, and maybe even lead them to a playoff berth. He won't be the long-term solution, and often has some deficiencies that'll hold him back from being a full time starter. They're good in spots or small stretches. Typically, they've had the chance to start for teams in the past, but have never proven themselves for one reason or another.

Watson now has to open his width of teams he's willing to take a trade to under his no-trade clause in order to hasten his exit, or be willing to sit out the 2021 season and forfeit about $20 million dollars. Caserio is basically staring at him and his agent with a smirk on his face. This move gives them the chance to be respectable at the quarterback position, but not appear as desperate as they could've been. Your move Watson. Choose wisely.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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