The first official day of NFL free agency left no void of headlines. None was bigger than the deal that ended the Brock Osweiler era in Houston for the low, low cost of two draft picks.
The Texans shipped their starting passer to the NFL’s most famous quarterback graveyard, shedding his $16 million salary and earning the chance to hit reset on a seemingly eternal quest for a franchise cornerstone. In return for renting out their cap space, the Browns will receive second- and sixth-round picks while sending their fourth-rounder down to the Lone Star State.
It’s a salary dump more familiar to the NBA’s trade deadline than the opening day of NFL free agency, but it makes sense for both teams. And while the primary actors have the most to gain from Thursday’s shocking news, the tendrils of this deal will reach out across the league’s landscape this spring.
Almost every game on the schedule seemed to come down to “Does Southern Miss have it today?” The wins were mostly definitive; the losses were, too.
Southern Miss in seven wins — Avg. win expectancy: 88% | Avg. percentile performance: 64% (~top 45) | Avg. yards per play: USM 6.6, Opp 4.5 (+2.1)
Southern Miss in six losses — Avg. win expectancy: 13% | Avg. percentile performance: 17% (~top 105) | Avg. yards per play: Opp 7.1, USM 5.4 (-1.7)
Aside from the strange, come-from-behind win over Kentucky in the season opener (UK went up 35-10, then the Eagles went on a 34-0 run), USM left almost no suspense in their other six victories; only the New Orleans Bowl win over UL-Lafayette came by single digits, and Southern Miss outgained the Cajuns by 229 yards. It was a fluke that the game was that close.