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Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans interested in Matt Cassel

The free-agent quarterback market is as shallow as a plastic kiddie pool.

With Michael Vick being the best available talent, teams looking for starting-quality quarterbacks will be hard-pressed to meet expectations. But there are some options for teams looking to add a quality veteran arm, especially as a stopgap.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Houston Texans have real interest in pursuing Matt Cassel. The quarterback opted out of his contract with the Minnesota Vikings earlier this offseason.

New Texans coach Bill O'Brien was an assistant with the Patriots during Cassel's final two seasons in New England.

Cassel proved he is a capable, yet unspectacular, starting quarterback after taking over for Christian Ponder in 2013. The Vikings' passing game, while not prolific, became much more proficient under his guidance.

Chasing Cassel makes sense for the Texans, who will need a veteran presence once they dump Matt Schaub's contract. A reunion with O'Brien also would provide Cassel with his best chance to compete for a starting quarterback job in an offense with which he is familiar.

Interest in the veteran might indicate the Texans aren't sold on taking a quarterback No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and would rather develop one taken in the later rounds while using Cassel as the bridge to that future.

Rapoport also reported that, while it has been assumed Josh McCown would return to the Chicago Bears, the team hasn't seemed committed to him. Coming off a career season, the veteran quarterback is likely to hit the open market.

The Vikings, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders are a few teams who will be in the market for a veteran quarterback to compete for a starting job.

*The latest "Around The League Podcast" talks the latest news, Jimmy Graham and the best fits in free agency. *

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