Though Texans quarterback Matt Schaub had a solid game on Sunday against the Patriots, plenty of his yards and both of his touchdown passes came after Houston had fallen into a 25-point hole. Regardless, a season of high expectations ended with the Texans doing no better than they did in 2011.
Things could have been different, if the Texans had nailed down the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But with the Texans blowing back-to-back opportunities to secure home-field advantage during the final two weeks of the regular season, they had to play in the wild-card round and hit the road, Jack, for the divisional playoffs.
Coupled with a chronic inability by Schaub to show up in big games this season, plenty of Texans fans surely will wonder whether it’s time, at a minimum, to open up the competition.
That’s unlikely. Schaub’s contract has what we’ll call a Sanchez clause in 2013, with the quarterback due to receive a fully-guaranteed base salary of $7.25 million. While we don’t know whether the Texans would be entitled to an offset if Schaub is cut and plays elsewhere next season, the Sanchez deal (which blocks an offset) and the Schaub deal were negotiated by the same agency, Athletes First.
Then there’s the fact that moving on from Schaub would result in $14 million in dead money, thanks to the unallocated portion of his $17.5 million signing bonus. Though the hit could be reduced to $3.5 million in 2013 with a post-June 1 designation for the release, the other $10.5 million would apply to the cap in 2014.
Moreover, dumping Schaub would constitute an admission that the $22.4 million Schaub was paid in 2013 was a mistake.
So, yes, Schaub will be back in 2013. The question is whether, come 2014, the Texans will be willing to pay him a non-guaranteed base salary of $10 million, especially since the dead money could be reduced to $3.5 million in 2014 and $7 million in 2015.
Before making any moves with Schaub, the Texans would have to feel like they have someone better. But it’s hard to imagine them doing much more as a team until they do.