HOUSTON — Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told reporters Monday that he was shocked general manager Rick Smith was able to pull off the trade that sent quarterback Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns earlier in the month.
“It was a shocker for me,” McNair said at the NFL owners meetings, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I couldn’t believe that Rick was able to pull it off. … It’s unbelievable. Everybody around the league, their jaws are still hanging open.
“It’s something no one thought [about], and I think other people have looked at that, and they’ve been trying to do the same thing without success.”
The trade that sent Osweiler, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick to Cleveland for a 2017 fourth-round pick will save the Texans $10 million in salary-cap space and $16 million cash.
The Texans signed Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million contract on the first day of free agency a year ago, but in his first year in Houston, he struggled. In 15 regular-season games, Osweiler completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,957 yards, 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
On Monday, McNair said looking back, because of how free agency works, the Texans and head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t know Osweiler well enough before signing him to the huge contract.
“We didn’t know Brock well enough,” McNair told the Houston Chronicle. “Coach [Bill O’Brien] didn’t have a chance to get to know him.
“That’s one of the problems with free agency. In the draft, we’re able to bring them to Houston, sit down with them, watch them interviewed by a bunch of coaches, and you have time to check them out.
“You can’t talk to them before they become a free agent. You can’t work them out. We didn’t know him that well.”