It was a far-fetched idea at one time, but the free agent market has worked for the Houston Texans better than expected. Even though the Texans have not been active early in the free agency period, the market has raised the value of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
The consensus was that the Texans were going to cut Schaub so they could save against the cap, but the Texans who are currently under the salary cap with him on the books are in no rush to make a move.
Understand that the Texans are not going to let Schaub walk away from Houston without getting something for the money they have invested in him since he arrived in 2007. The Texans got wind that there was interest in Schaub and he was going to be the hottest commodity when it came to free agent quarterback if they released him.
For the past couple weeks two teams, the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, have shown interest in Matt Schaub in becoming their quarterback (according to national media outlets)
Here is why it makes sense…..
For the Oakland Raiders
With the moves that the Raiders have made during free agency, they are loading up on solid veterans to help their team. The Raiders have been tagged to Schaub since free agency has begun and the Raiders have not hidden their interest in him. They have already talked to Antonio Smith and what he knows about Schaub, which could help in many ways. As with the Raiders taking the veteran approach to free agency, Schaub fits with their current plan. The Raiders are not interested in taking on is cap number of $14 million plus which causes a slight issue.
One thing being overlooked is that the Raiders currently have $27 million in salary cap space, and currently $13 million from the league mandated cap floor. So the Raiders have some work to do. The Raiders are in no way interested in trading for that number, but the positives is that his deal comes with little risk. His $10.5 million guaranteed is on the Texans books, so his deal could be treated like an expiring contract where the Raiders get their veteran quarterback with nothing but a signature on his deal coming to the Raiders.
Schaub is the most viable option to them and it seems they are not letting anything deviate them from him. The Raiders could easily ask for Schaub to restructure his deal if he gets traded to Oakland and give him the one thing he wants, a starting job. The Raiders do not want to get into a bidding war with the Browns and giving up a low round pick could be the answer for them in more ways than one.
For the Cleveland Browns
The Denver offensive philosophy with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now ready to happen in Cleveland and adding Schaub would be a seamless move. There has been reported interest for the Browns for Schaub, but if feels they could sit and wait for him to hit the open market. With players like Ben Tate, Josh Gordon, Andre Hawking and Jordan Cameron the Browns have the pieces in place to make this offense go, and getting a quarterback familiar with the system in place is key.
Schaub could be a stop-gap for the Browns and can hit the ground running when OTAs arrive with him as the quarterback. The Browns are slowly moving the pieces to be a better team in 2014, and having a system quarterback that can produce with these weapons is key.
A rookie quarterback coming in will have some time to get used to the game and the offensive philosophy, but Schaub could easily be the bridge and mentor for the rookie quarterback they could take in the draft. For a team that has been chasing success, Schaub makes sense from a system stand point.
For Matt Schaub
Schaub wants to prove that the 2013 season was not a career defining one, and he wants to have another chance to show he is a capable NFL quarterback. The only problem it is not going to happen in Houston and it is for the best for both Schaub and the Texans.
With the Texans having the rights to Schaub, they could initially set up deals in place with the Browns and Raiders and let Schaub choose his destination. It can also work if Schaub hits the free agency market, but the Raiders and Browns could easily break off talks if something goes wrong.
If Schaub hit free agency he loses control of the situation, and if the Texans can get parameters of potential deals in place Shaub's agents can talk contracts with the potential teams.
He wants control of his future, and there is nothing guaranteed when he hits the market. By letting Schaub's agents talk to each team, they could find a common ground then let Schaub choose his destination.
There is definite smoke concerning the Schaub topic in Houston and him possibly being dealt prior to the season.The Texans have to play their cards right and make sure they give no indication they will release Schaub at any point. With Schaub as a commodity at this point and with known interest in acquiring the quarterback this needs to be a slow process so it is done correctly. If the Texans can pull this off, expect this an early win for the organization in 2014.
It makes sense on plenty of levels, and getting Schaub out of Houston with something in return could be a good start in the Bill O'Brien era.