Bill O’Brien might turn to a familiar face to lead his offense in 2014.
The Houston Texans and quarterback Matt Cassel have mutual interest, according to NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport. O’Brien and Cassel worked together with the New England Patriots in 2007 and 2008 when the Texans head coach was an offensive assistant and wide receivers coach. Cassel was the Patriots’ starting quarterback in 2008 after Tom Brady went down in the season opener with a torn ACL. Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record.
Cassel elected to become a free agent this offseason after spending 2013 with the Minnesota Vikings. Cassel had a solid season, throwing for 1,807 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in nine games (six starts). He had a 60.2 completion percentage and threw for 7.1 yards per attempt.
Cassel would be a one-year stopgap for the Texans if a rookie quarterback couldn’t start immediately. The Texans could use their No. 1 overall pick in this spring’s NFL draft on a quarterback or wait until later rounds to pick the future of their franchise. O’Brien personally worked out Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday.
Cassel wouldn’t be the first person O’Brien culled from the Patriots. Former Patriots vice president of player personnel Bobby Grier is the Texans’ senior personnel adviser; former Patriots tight ends coach George Godsey is the Texans’ quarterbacks coach; former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel holds the same role in Houston; former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel is the Texans’ linebackers coach and former Patriots defensive lineman Anthony Pleasant is the Texans’ assistant strength and conditioning coach.