(Followed closely by Matt Schaub himself.)
As soon as the Texans 30-10 win was official Sunday, word came down that the Texans had extended QB Matt Schaub for four years in addition to the current season.
The Texans were in a very difficult position with Schaub. Word came out during the offseason that the Texans would stay in “wait and see” mode with Schaub, ensuring that he stay healthy in 2012 before devoting a big chunk of money to him.
The danger in that, of course, is that if Schaub were to have an injury-free and well-played 2012, they would suddenly be on the hook for a very large sum of money to keep Schaub around. Sure, the Texans’ system helps Schaub, and of course Schaub knows the system in and out. It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship. But in the NFL, that sort of thing doesn’t matter so much when it comes to free agency. The quarterback position is priced at a premium, and you don’t have to be an elite quarterback to get paid money that seems like it should only go to elite players. It’s just the reality of the NFL.
In the end, the Texans gambled that Schaub would stay healthy, and pulled the trigger on a deal that would have been too low to keep Schaub at the end of a healthy 2012 played at a high level.
Here is my reaction to this decision – I think the the Texans had no choice. If Schaub has the kind of 2012 every Texan fan and employee wants him to have, keeping him at the end of the year would still be possible, but you can say goodbye to other important cogs. Of course, the Texans are going to have that problem anyway, but to a lesser degree now.
If the Texans did not have a guy named Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator (or had not otherwise developed an elite NFL defense) I would be absolutely throwing a fit over this move. If we still had those horrible, dreadful defenses that we loathe to recollect so much, we would then have to rely on Schaub to win nearly every game with his arm. He is NOT that kind of quarterback.
With an elite NFL defense and what we hope continues to be an effective running game, Schaub is certainly way more than a game manager, but he doesn’t have to be relied upon to win every game.
That in and of itself is good enough for me, but if you need more convincing, you have to ask yourself – who is your new quarterback?
TJ Yates is not going to be the Texans quarterback of the future unless he becomes a completely different guy. Case Keenum? Please stop.
The Texans are going to be too successful to get a high enough draft pick and grab an immediate difference-making QB in the draft. Sure, they could package picks and trade up – but that’s not how the Texans roll, and I’m good with that.
Even IF the Texans were to draft a guy – you don’t just plug in and play a quarterback in this system (or any other with rare exceptions) and expect immediate success. Immediate success is what this team is after, and the best way to do that? Continuity. The coaching, the system, the quarterback, etc.
Free agency? When’s the last time a top-tier NFL QB hit free agency? Drew Brees (extenuating circumstances), and Peyton Manning (extenuating circumstances). Want to wait around for another situation like that – and when it does happen, do you want to pay even more for him than you would for Schaub AND allow for the time to adjust to the offense? Didn’t think so.
As long as Wade Phillips coaches the Texans’ defense, or they find a way to continue having a top tier defense – their window to win is open. You can win with Schaub at the helm, and this defense in play, no doubt.
Like it or not, Schaub is going to be here. I hold no delusions that he’s an elite, upper-tier quarterback, but how many of those are there? Four? He doesn’t need to be that. He’s simply the most important cog in the machine that is this offense for now, and the next several years.