The Texans surprised many people Sunday, but the surprise didn't come on the field. All off-season long the reports surrounding Matt Schaub's contract status was that the two sides would wait until after this season to work on a new deal. Either they were less than truthful to keep the talks under the radar and keep it from being a distraction, or one side called the other out of the blue with a deal they couldn't turn down; my guess is the first option.
As I've said in previous articles this off-season, I thought the Texans should make every attempt to re-sign Schaub before the season started. I believe Schaub's level of play warrants an extension, but more than that, the Texans had no other option. If they let Schaub walk, who would they start at quarterback next season? T.J. Yates? A rookie they select in the upcoming draft? Both options would mean the team taking a serious step back in their pursuit of a championship; not acceptable for a team this close to that goal. Love him or hate him, Schaub is an upper half of the league quarterback and executes this system very well. He has flaws, he's not Brady or Brees, but he's good enough given the talent surrounding him now to lead this team on a deep playoff run.
I also like the timing of the deal, not just because of the Texans team rule about not negotiating during the season, but I thought signing him now might get the team a discount given his recent injury history. Had Schaub completed a full healthy season and thrown for 4,000 yards; his price tag would go up dramatically. However, that doesn't appear to be the case since Schaub got more than market value in my opinion.
Matt Schaub's extension is for 4 years worth 62 million/24.750 guaranteed— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 9, 2012
Again, I'm glad they got the deal done, but I think they overpaid. In my own estimation factoring in age and injury concerns, I thought Schaub was worth three years, 40 million with about 15 million guaranteed. The Texans gave Schaub a six year, 48 million dollar contract after acquiring him in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2007; don't see why a significant raise was necessary. I get that he's now a known commodity versus an unknown commodity in 2007, but I think that should be canceled out by being five years older and having three seasons significantly affected by injury during his time with the Texans. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but I think they swung and missed on matching his value with his contract. Schaub led the league with 4,770 yards passing in 2009, and followed it up with 4,369 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2010. He received top 10 quarterback money which he's worth when healthy, but three of his five seasons haven't been fully healthy so I think the dollar total given was a bit of a risk.
If Schaub stays healthy, this contract won't be an issue. If he gets injured, this contract will be an anchor weighing down on their salary cap. One thing that will be interesting to see once detailed numbers are released is how the money is divided up over the four years. My guess is they'll front load the contract making it easier to cut in years three or four if Schaub gets hurt again. Either way, the Texans should invest an early pick, first or second round next year or the year after in a rookie quarterback to develop during Schaub's final several seasons with the team.
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