Rookie quarterbacks CJ Stroud of the Houston Texans and Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to fully guaranteed four-year contracts.
Stroud has agreed to a $36 million deal with Houston, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Richardson, the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft, has agreed to a $34 million contract.
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Stroud, who was drafted second overall, is expected to replace Davis Mills, who has struggled as the Texans’ starter the past two seasons. Mills went 5-22-1 in 28 games, including 26 starts, as the Texans were among the worst teams in the NFL.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio has said that Stroud will enter camp competing for the starting job.
The Colts are counting on Richardson, the former Florida star, to provide some long-term stability at the most important position in the game. They selected Richardson behind 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and Stroud, but ahead of Kentucky’s Will Levis.
The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Richardson posted the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.43 seconds) along with the best vertical jump (40 1/2 inches) and long jump (10 feet, 9 inches) of the 15 quarterbacks in the NFL combine.
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It was a no-brainer for the Colts, who went 4-12-1 last season with three different starters. The question now is when Richardson will take over. A franchise that has had six different starters in as many seasons will choose between journeyman Gardner Minshew and Richardson during camp and preseason.
The Colts are convinced that Richardson can help them re-emerge as playoff contenders. They also hope he can become the long-term solution the franchise has sought since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement in 2019.
Richardson started just 13 games in college and completed just 53.8% of his passes in 2022.
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Stroud was a two-year starter for Ohio State, where he passed for 8,123 yards with 85 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions as the Buckeyes went 21-4. His 85 touchdowns in two seasons broke a Big Ten record held by Drew Brees.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Stroud is the third quarterback selected by Houston in the first round, joining Deshaun Watson, a 12th overall pick in 2017 and David Carr, the team’s first draft pick who was the first overall pick in 2002.
The Texans hired former DeMeco Ryans player as their coach this offseason. Houston has won just 11 combined games in the last three seasons.