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Schaub’s future in Houston hinges on many factors

Matt Schaub AP

Maybe it’s a sign of the sssslow times right now in the NFL, but I’ve become fascinated lately with the quarterback situation in Houston.  Starter Matt Schaub enters the final year of his six-season contract, but no talks on an extension have occurred.  Schaub says that he sees himself sticking around for the long haul, as he tries to finish what he has started (but hopefully not in the Colt McCoy way).

It remains too early to know with any certainty how this one will play out, but that won’t stop me from speculating about it.  (Does it ever?)  After discussing the situation earlier this morning in Houston, via a weekly spot on In the Loop with Nick and Lopez (SportsRadio 610), I decided to sit down (then again, I already was sitting) and type up the various factors that will influence Schaub’s future.

1.  How much money does he want?

In 2007, he received a second-to-third-tier contract upon being traded to the Texans.  As he makes $7 million in the final season of a six-year deal that averaged $8 million per year, the biggest and most important question is whether he wants to be paid at a significantly higher rate going forward.

2.  How much will the Texans pay?

G.M. Rick Smith seems to be implementing a meticulous plan when it comes to building and tweaking and reloading and maintaining his roster.  Right now, the Texans boast a great defense, a great running game, a great offense line, and a top-heavy receiving corps.

Given those realities, Smith surely has a number in mind, driven by considerations like Schaub’s value on the open market, the other areas of need on the roster (left tackle Duane Brown will be a free agent in March, too), the “need” to have a highly-compensation quarterback, and the team’s other options at the position.

3.  So, what other options do they have?

While the Texans may not enjoy the broad array of free-agent and/or trade options at quarterback that were available earlier this year, they possibly have an in-house ace in waiting.  T.J. Yates performed admirably as a rookie fifth-rounder, and he gives the Texans a low-cost option at the position, especially since the CBA prevents his contract from being renegotiated until after the 2013 season.

4.  Can Rick Smith continue to be dispassionate about his personnel decisions?

Smith seems to pride himself (as he should) on making decisions with the name on the back of the jersey removed.  That approach could face its biggest test with Schaub.

Yes, Smith was able to part ways with guys like Mario Williams (who left via free agency), DeMeco Ryans (who was traded), and Eric Winston (who was cut).  But more than ever it’s a quarterback-driven league.  Would Smith be able to watch Schaub walk away?

5.  Would the Texans use the franchise tag?

For the same reasons the Ravens likely wouldn’t tag Joe Flacco, the Texans likely wouldn’t sink more than $15 million in cap space into a quarterback who has yet to play at a $15 million-per-year level.  Even if it’s done to retain “dibs” as negotiations continue, the one-year guaranteed salary becomes the launching pad for the long-term deal.  Besides, with Duane Brown also due to be a free agent, the Texans could be more likely to use the tag on him, especially since the franchise tender for offensive linemen better correlates with Brown’s value.

6.  How good do the Texans think Schaub is?

That’s perhaps the most important question, something to which we’ll never know the complete and truthful answer.  When considering the league’s other quarterbacks — via a simple exercise of “which guy would you rather have?” —  it’s hard to see Schaub even in the top half of the league.

Schaub easily loses the quarterback version of the card game “war” with, by our count, at least 16 starters.  Here they are, in no particular order:  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco (the postseason record was the difference), Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Mike Vick, Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, and rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, III.

While there’s no reason to currently believe Schaub won’t be back with the Texans in 2013, there’s reason to believe it’s not as easy of a question as it may seem.  In the end, Schaub may have to prove that he can do what Yates did in 2011:  Take the team to the playoffs and win at least one postseason game.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the situation at the top of the hour on PFT Live with someone who knows a thing or two (or a million) about the Texans, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

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24 Responses to “Schaub’s future in Houston hinges on many factors”
  1. wlubake says: Jul 6, 2012 12:21 PM

    Not sure the following guys win the toss-up against Schaub:

    Ryan, Flacco, Vick, Cutler, Luck and Griffin.

    Matt Ryan is the guy who couldn’t put up a single offensive point in the first round of the playoffs last year against a bottom 5 pass defense, despite having White, Jones and Gonzalez at his disposal. Vick was very good for one year, but that’s about it. Last year he looked like the old Atlanta Michael Vick. Cutler’s been at least as inconsistent as Schaub, with much lower lows. Let’s also not crown the rookies until we see what they can do.

    He deserves a Vick-like contract, and could very well demand that on the open market.

  2. vikes69 says: Jul 6, 2012 12:24 PM

    please do not put 2 unproven rookies in front of schaub.,. if he didnt get hurt the texans would have beaten the ravens

  3. deljzc says: Jul 6, 2012 12:25 PM

    2011:

    Schaub (10 games): 27.3 ppg, 9 total offensive turnovers, 7-3 record.

    Yates (8 games): 19.0 ppg, 15 total offensive turnovers, 4-4 record.

    Yeah, sounds like a real smart move to let him go for a cheaper option….

  4. somethinsbruin says: Jul 6, 2012 12:25 PM

    This was a decent article until “rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, III” were proclaimed better NFL QBs than Matt Schaub. That could be the most irresponsible opinion in a website built off of them. Ever hear of JaMarcus Russell?

  5. realityonetwo says: Jul 6, 2012 12:28 PM

    Schaub’s easily been among the top 10 in QB rating for the past four years. Glad you’re not leading our overseas troops with your “War” skills…

  6. blacknole08 says: Jul 6, 2012 12:28 PM

    Schaub is still a pro bowl caliber QB if he stays healthy. But he’s not a QB I’d break the bank for. T.J. Yates showed some promise last season and he’s a cheaper option.

  7. ahostiletakeover says: Jul 6, 2012 12:35 PM

    Not a Texans fan in the least, but I’ll take Schaub hands down over Luck and Griffin this season anyway.

  8. 2ndaryinsanity says: Jul 6, 2012 12:55 PM

    First of all, how can you rank two unproven rookies ahead of Schaub?
    As a Texans fan, here are my complaints about Schaub:
    #1 He gets injured and misses too many games
    #2 You just can’t trust him…Schaub can be inconsistent and makes idiotic throws at the worst possible times.
    He’s a good QB, but not a great one. I have a feeling that he’ll want considerably more money than what the Texans will be willing to pay. But there WILL be a QB desperate team willing to pay him top dollar…even if he doesn’t actually deserve it.
    So, I hope Yates is as good as the Texans believe him to be….there’s a good chance he’ll be our next starting QB

  9. xtrout says: Jul 6, 2012 12:59 PM

    Pay the man. period. Schaub is an excellent QB. He plays above the level of the rest of the team he is on.

  10. texansdude says: Jul 6, 2012 1:02 PM

    I think it is best to say the Texans and Schaub need each other badly. Look at your rating of him – I think you are wrong, but I get it that might be the perception outside of Houston. Houston needs him to stay healthy this year, and be the guy he was before he got hurt last year. Smith needs to sign him, now. One good season and they can’t afford him. Also, you are kind about Yates, and I like him, too. But he is at least one Matt Schaub contract extension from being possibly “the guy”.

  11. profootballwalk says: Jul 6, 2012 1:13 PM

    Football Outsiders ranked Schaub #10 last year – Cutler #21. I won’t ever talk about the rookies.

  12. whatwouldlombardido says: Jul 6, 2012 1:13 PM

    There’s a simple answer to this question: if Schaub stays healthy and leads the Texans to a playoff win, Rick Smith (Bob McNair) will pay him. The bigger question is, who would want Schaub if he doesn’t succeed in 2012?

  13. phillycass says: Jul 6, 2012 1:14 PM

    I’d take Schaub in Philly over Vick!

  14. jerrydesaulniers says: Jul 6, 2012 1:32 PM

    The law of averages state that one of the top 2 Quarterbacks drafted this year will be a disappointment. As a matter of fact Weeden may outplay both of them. And I agree with the previous poster that said it was a good article until some of the comparisons were made. Luck , RG3 and Flacco have yet to prove their better than Schaub.

  15. Mr. Jones says: Jul 6, 2012 1:48 PM

    I’m a big fan of Schaub. But I understand that a bad OLine can keep you out of games and make you look bad to the people upstairs.

    He deserves at least 2 more season to get a chance. He has Foster and Johnson, you have to produce with those two.

  16. moscratch13 says: Jul 6, 2012 2:23 PM

    I am a Lions fan and if healthy Schaub is a top seven Quarterback, I had only six guys ahead of him in my mock draft last year Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Stafford, Tony Romo and Matt Schaub a very close six with Romo. Big Ben may have won two Superbowls but he is no Schaub!!!!!!!!!

  17. berneyga says: Jul 6, 2012 2:33 PM

    So, according to just about every ‘analysist’, the Texans problems come from an injury prone quarterback and a lack of depth at wide reciever. If you look at the 2010 season, with the same quarterback, and the same wide recievers, we were one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Our problems were our defense.

    Basically, the analysts are idiots. We have a better offense than we did when we were lighting up the stats and now, we have a better defense.

    The Texans were always regarded as an offensive powerhouse. Wade overshadowed it, and not we have writers talking about our offensive weaknesses.

    Schaub will be back, and it will probably be after making a deep playoff run or a superbowl.

  18. fernjag says: Jul 6, 2012 4:00 PM

    Like I have said before in another post, Schaub is not an elite QB. And he has his flaws. But he is an adequate QB, capable of leading the Texans to the Super Bowl. He is perfectly suited for Kubiak’s offensive scheme. The Texans should sign him to a contract now, because they may regret it later. I say sign him for 8 million a year for 4 more years.

  19. champ1118 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:34 PM

    Ranking RG III and Luck ahead of Shaub is crazy…and I’m a Redskins fan!!

  20. mtaylor0 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:46 PM

    I believe that Schaub will need to play his best year, yet, in 2012 to get his extension. People who want to bring up Yates’ stats as a comparison are missing the obvious, Yates came in with virtually zero prep time during his rookie year at a pivotal/high stress point in the season and was able to perform at the level of an average QB just learning the offense.

    Yates also improved his game as the season progressed. Schaub has the future of the Texans nipping at his heels. I think it would only take 1 or 2 full seasons for Yates to develop in the system as a major impact QB for the team. Schaub is replaceable with what the Texans currently have to work with.

    All that said, I do like Schaub and feel he probably has another 3 to 4 good playing years left in him, provided he stays healthy.

  21. raqaiw says: Jul 6, 2012 8:25 PM

    #80 makes this clown look way better than he is. The only reason they even won the division and made the playoffs is because Manning didn’t play a snap. Why invest in a fragile late game INT thrower? At least Yates has upside. He’s not better than Schaub, but he COULD be. You already know what you have in Schaub, and it isn’t much.

  22. pecosbob says: Jul 6, 2012 9:23 PM

    Where you screwed up was when you made the list…just like that dumbass Jaworski.

  23. meandjuliojonesdownbytheschoolyard says: Jul 6, 2012 11:20 PM

    Schaub is a really good QB, not sure why he’s getting knocked on here.

  24. blazertop says: Jul 7, 2012 7:15 AM

    Schaub is to the Texans, what Pastorini was to the Oilers. A decent QB, who can get the job done. Will he pick up the whole team and win a game on his own? Probably not. But you don’t have to have a HoF QB to win playoff games.

    As long as Kubiak is there though, there is little hope no matter who the QB is.

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