Falcon Points

With busy day of trades, O'Brien's transformation to villain is now complete

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We all love super heroes and comic book movies. A hero fights for good, does his or her best to protect us from evil and those who would destroy our world. They keep the villains from eliminating all we love.

In reality, super heroes don't exist. But sadly, super villains do.

Bill O'Brien's transformation to the latter is now complete.

With Saturday's trade of Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks for basically a warm bucket of spit was the final step in his transformation from slightly above average coach to a Chip Kelly-type destroyer of worlds.

O'Brien basically sold Clowney off for a pair of fringe players and a third-round pick. The simple question is why? Why not just keep him this season, when you claim to be a contender? Especially considering the other moves the team made, this makes little sense.

Bullying the bully

O'Brien, the ultimate bully, allowed himself to be bullied into a bad trade because he was too stubborn to suck it up and realize for the now, they were better off keeping Clowney. If you were going to trade him, it should have been on your own terms. Or done months ago. But what happens when someone bullies a bully? He folds.

So the Texans give away an asset for next to nothing.

No offensive tackle to protect Deshaun Watson. Not even a running back. Not even a premium draft pick. O'Brien's rise to the top of the power structure has put the Texans in a precarious position. He has basically solid off assets for almost nothing, simply because he believes he knows better than anyone else.

A real super hero - or, even a GM - would have stepped in and stopped it. But O'Brien has consolidated all the power. In Dark Knight, we learn you die a hero or live long enough to be a villain. O'Brien should have been fired - or at least had his wings clipped - two years ago. Instead he has lived to be the villain.

Tearing it down

There really is nothing positive to pull out of this trade, The Texans are not better. O'Brien dismantled Gary Kubiak's talented offensive line, letting Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks walk in free agency and dealing Duane Brown for nothing. He has yet to rebuild it and they have suffered ever since. Now he has given away a solid if slightly overrated defensive asset for nothing.

Why? Uncontrollable ego? Stubborness? The idea that he knows better than everyone else? That has not worked out very well so far. Short of winning a Super Bowl, which seems incredibly unlikely, O'Brien has once again set himself to look like the bad guy.

Every villain tries to get on your good side

O'Brien finally landed the much-needed left tackle later in the day when he picked up stud Laremy Tunsil from Miami. But the price was incredibly high. Two first rounders, a second, Julien Davenport and Johnson Bademosi for Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills. He also dealt Martinas Rankin for running back Carlos Hyde. While adding those two was a huge positive, the price just makes the Clowney trade look worse. Rankin becomes yet another failed third-round pick. They could have gotten a Tunsil like haul for Clowney before the draft and failed. And if they had never traded Brown, this isn't even necessary...so even the good moves make him look like a dictator. A coach who is playing GM (again, see Kelly) does not look ahead.

And thus here we are

He might not be the villain we wanted. But he is the one we have.

And there are no heroes left in the world. We have to hope it all works out.

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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