By Cody Stoots

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – It sure sounds like the Texans will finally be getting that “franchise” quarterback that fans have clamored for since Matt Schaub betrayed that idea in early 2013.

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any question. I’ve been saying that,” said Texans owner Bob McNair Tuesday night when asked if the priority was the quarterback position, echoing comments he made in mid-December about his desire to see the Texans snag a signal caller.

At what cost? And more importantly, what are the Texans are willing to pay?

“The question is what’s available and what’s the price,” he said. “You know, how many draft picks might you have to give up? And you can’t undermine the rest of your team while you’re trying to get a quarterback and then you can’t protect your quarterback.”

Trading up for quarterbacks hasn’t been a sound strategy recently.

The Browns traded up in the first round of 2014 to grab Johnny Manziel, a move Texans fans clamored for, and that has been a disaster. Not because Manziel can’t play, he’s flashed talent, but his off-the-field woes have derailed him.

Another wished upon move by the Texans faithful was what the Vikings did adding Teddy Bridgewater. It has worked out for them as in his second year he has an NFC North title under his belt as he is still developing.

There is, of course, the Robert Griffin III debacle. Brandon Weeden in that same draft. Blaine Gabbert a target by the Jaguars in 2011. Tim Tebow in 2010. Mark Sanchez in 2009. A long list of misses and messes when you trade up for a quarterback on draft day.

Reaching for one in your draft slot isn’t an answer either. Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill and EJ Manuel all went earlier than expected and all saw a Pro Bowl player go within a pick or two. Stud left tackle Tyron Smith went one pick after Locker. Two picks after Ponder Robert Quinn, Mike Pouncey, and Ryan Kerrigan were drafted. A pick after Tannehill, how about All-Pro linebacker Luke Keuchely?

Reaching is bad.

Maybe it isn’t a rookie for the Texans. In 2013, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer moved teams, but with vastly different price tags. Judging by the lack of talent that would be available, and the Texans previously trying this strategy with Schaub, I would rule this one out.

McNair, for better or worse, seems set on a quarterback through the draft.

And if his mind is made up, so is Bill O’Brien’s.

“Whatever he says, that’s the boss,” O’Brien said Sunday in his final press conference of the season.”That’s the way I’ve been brought up. It’s the chain of command. He’s the man, so whatever he wants to do, you want to watch film, we’re going to watch film.”

You want to draft a quarterback, we’ll draft a quarterback.

I don’t expect the Texans to wait around for, no offense, another Tom Savage. This is a day one of day two investment in the future of the franchise.

This seems like McNair’s call, but everyone will be on board. He mentioned his son, Cal, as well as O’Brien and Rick Smith, who isn’t going anywhere Texans fans, will work on finding the right quarterback.

“We’re working on that,” said McNair, “but we think there’s some good prospects out there.”

Good? Sure. Great? Maybe. Sure things? Nope. There is no Luck, Winston, Mariota, or Mariota for the Texans. Even if there was, they’re not in a position to see those guys.

The worst part, we won’t know next season, or maybe even the following, if the guy is any good. It could be a while before the Texans know, and even longer before we know.

The Texans will hope to find the next Derek Carr (2nd round 2014), Russell Wilson (3rd round 2012), Joe Flacco (18th overall 2008), Aaron Rodgers (24th overall 2005), or digging way back Drew Brees (32nd overall 2001).

Not exactly easy.

For better or worse the Texans will invest in a quarterback early in this draft. It may even cost them a portion of the rest of the draft. Maybe a piece of the following one as well.

Just the cost of doing business for quarterbacks and being desperate compounding each other.

While we are wishing for something miraculous to happen, would a franchise running back be too much to ask for as well? How about a tight end who is, I don’t know, capable of playing the position?

Not to mention the laundry list of starters who’s contracts are up. Plus the need for depth at key positions.

Oh boy, the more we talk about it the tougher it sounds to get the quarterback and not have it wreck the team elsewhere.

Alas, without taking a shot at one, we will never know what this team could be under O’Brien and with J.J. Watt in his prime. No more wasted seasons. Watt already proclaims every season not ending with a championship a disappointment. No more disappointing Watt.

No more disappointing the fans either.

So let the speculation on Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and former O’Brien quarterback Christian Hackenberg begin. Go start reading and watching all of them. Find your favorite. Unless the Texans swing and miss horribly, one of these guys will be wearing Deep Steel Blue and Liberty White under center next year.

For better or worse.

Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots


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