I'm not proclaiming Matt Schaub the savior QB of the Oakland Raiders. I'm not calling him the next Rich Gannon either. And I'm certainly not going to waste my time trying to convince people that this guy is going to win us ballgames in 2014 - I have no idea on that front.
But already I've seen a few writers and fans alike commenting on how bad of a move this is for the Raiders. The majority seem to focus exclusively on his huge contract / cap number, while some condemn the guy because he had an absolutely pitiful 2013. All fine and good, but let's consider a few things here:
The Contract -
He was signed prior to the 2012 season at 4 years / $62 million ($24 million guaranteed). From everything I've read, Schaub's deal is actually somewhat team friendly for the remaining 3 years - in large part because these years contain no guaranteed money. His 2014 cap number stands at $14.5 million ($10.5 million in base salary, $3.5 million in yearly signing bonus proration, and $1 million for per-game-active-roster bonus). His 2015 cap number will be roughly $17 million and $19 million in 2016 respectively.
Should the Raiders choose to release Schaub after June 1 of 2015 (or give him post-June 1 designation) they'd be on the hook for only $3.5 million toward 2015's cap and $3.5 million toward 2016's cap. That's not bad at all guys - seriously - especially considering the types of contracts Reggie has been giving out this offseason. The majority of the deals for guys like Penn, Tuck, and Woodley are front-loaded and give the team more than enough cap flexibility and insurance in the future. People need to focus less on Schaub's base salary and more on the fact that he carries no more guaranteed money + marginal cap hits for 2015-2016 if he's cut.
**I'm not saying Schaub's $14.5 - $17 million annual salary is the team-friendly part by any means. With the year he had in 2013, he obviously doesn't deserve that. But also remember how insane some of the QB contracts have been as of late, with true stud QBs making upwards of $20 million per year. Schaub isn't on their level by any means, but it's not like his salary handcuffs the team in any way given their cap space.
And if I'm a betting man - I'm not so sure Reggie won't try to get Schaub to restructure his deal after this season. Maybe he won't. But I don't think there's anyway the Raiders are paying him $17 million 2 years from now - he'll be long gone or restructured by then.
The Numbers -
I'm not going to sit here and pretend Schaub's 2013 wasn't bad, but placing ALL of the blame on him for the Texan's pitiful season is unwarranted. Owen Daniels - a guy who Schaub relied on heavily since he arrived in Houston - only played 5 games in 2013. He served as Schaub's most consistent red-zone target, catching 12 TDs since 2011. DeAndre Hopkins emerged as a viable #2 receiver opposite Andre Johnson, but didn't really shake off the rookie status until the latter half of the season.
The Texans defense wasn't exactly stellar either. They tied for 25th in points allowed and gave up the 23rd most rushing yards while playing in a division that doesn't exactly boast the most dominant of running backs. Through the first 5 weeks of 2013, Schaub averaged 43 pass attempts per game - that's not his game.
All of that said, in 2012 Schaub was 6th in completion percentage, 9th in passer rating, and topped the 4,000 yard mark. That year he had two healthy running backs in Arian Foster and Ben Tate, a healthy TE in Daniels, and their defense played at a much, much higher level.
QB Of The Future -
Something Schaub obviously is not. But this has been Reggie's plan all along, and compared to the other available - or soon to be available - options, the Raiders did well. There's plenty of Freeman, Vick, and Sanchez supporters out there, but neither of those 3 really fits the mold of what Reggie currently wants in a season which could decide his fate as GM. Schaub is an established and experienced veteran with no baggage. He's played in big games, has a winning playoff record, and again - he has NO baggage. That seems to be a huge part of Reggie's philosophy based on the moves he's made.
Schaub's addition doesn't mean McGloin can't be this team's QB one day, and it doesn't mean the Raiders won't wind up drafting one in this year's draft. However, his addition does mean the team will probably wait to draft a QB until the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round. That's best case scenario too, as guys like McGloin and the rookie will have a great veteran to learn from, and other holes can be plugged with the 5th pick. And don't forget how many years Schaub sat behind Vick in Atlanta - learning and observing - until he got his chance in Houston. He will undoubtedly help the younger QBs.
Wrap It Up Dude -
My point in all of this really isn't that I'm anointing Schaub our future Super Bowl winning QB. I'm just dismissing some of you pessimistic and misguided fans that think you know what you're talking about.
YES, he's making a lot of money this year - but this team has the money and eventually we were going to pay a QB. With the new rookie wage scale, they can afford to overpay the veteran since the QB of the future will be under a team friendly contract for a few years - at which time Schaub will be gone.
People can make the case that better options were out there, but given everything Schaub brings - including his friendly contract beyond this year and his past success - I really do see this as the smartest move for the Raiders at the present moment.
This also gives the team a ton of freedom / flexibility with that 5th pick.
Just wanted to add this. Reggie deserves some credit for getting this deal done now as opposed to waiting for the Texans to cut Schaub - which could have dragged on all the way until June 1st. Another team might have taken a shot at a trade for him in that waiting period as well.
But most important is the fact that Schaub can begin reviewing the playbook and get on the same page with his OC and new teammates NOW rather than 1 or 2 months down the road. That's huge to me, especially considering so many new pieces have been installed. Good stuff Reg.