Add another log to the Deshaun Watson trade-talk fire: The Houston Texans added a veteran with starting experience to their QB room.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Houston is signing Tyrod Taylor to an incentive-laden, one-year contract worth up to $12.5 million, but the base salary is less than half that, per a source informed of the pact. Pelissero added Wednesday that Taylor's base value is $5.5 million and the QB's deal includes $2.5 million in guaranteed money.
The deal is similar to the those inked by Cam Newton and Jameis Winston in New England and New Orleans, respectively. At less than a $6 million base salary, Taylor will get solid backup money with upside if he ends up starting.
The pact is sure to fuel questions about whether the Texans are preparing themselves to trade Watson. The organization's stance is that it will not part with a 25-year-old star quarterback under contract. We've seen a few cracks in that stance, however, starting with Texans coach David Culley saying on the Huddle & Flow podcast last week that Watson is the quarterback "as of right now."
Taylor's addition could be the latest indication that the Texans realize that the situation is irreconcilable.
The 31-year-old quarterback opened the 2020 campaign as the Los Angeles Chargers starter, but a rib injury led to a medical mishap that forced him to miss time. Justin Herbert quickly took the reins and never gave them back on his way to winning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Throughout his career, Taylor, No. 77 in Gregg Rosenthal's Top 101 Free Agents of 2021 at the time of the deal, has been a solid backup and earned a Pro Bowl in his stint as a starter in Buffalo. The veteran signal-caller has been a bridge in his last few stops, starting three games for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 before giving way to Baker Mayfield. It happened again in L.A. last year.
With Watson insisting he wants out of Houston, Taylor could once again be a veteran stand-in for a younger signal-caller acquired in a trade or the draft. If, by some miracle, Houston reconciles the situation, Taylor would be a solid QB room cohort to the young star and could start in a pinch if the starter gets hurt.
As of now, Taylor signed a backup QB deal in Houston. Depending on what unfolds in the coming weeks, it could be worth much more.