-Texans trade QB Matt Schaub to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
-Texans sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to two-year deal worth $7.5 million, with $4 million in guarantees
Matt Schaub is finally gone, proving both Sean Pendergast and the front office right: there was no need to release him. The truth is that in a world where Blaine Gabbert is worth a sixth-round pick, Matt Schaub is too. Particularly when this world has a salary cap floor that some teams are struggling to make.
Schaub’s arm strength is pretty much kaput at this point, so I expect the situation in Oakland to wind up much like the Matt Flynn scenario. It’s hard to criticize the Raiders harshly, because it’s not like they gave up anything of value for the chance to rehabilitate a quarterback who was once good, but I think they’re facing some very low odds in trying to fix him. And even if they did fix him, their best-case scenario is probably flipping him to a team that is much closer than they are before he turns back into a pumpkin. Low-risk, low-reward investment. But hey, someone has to eat salary cap space in Oakland, and Matt Schaub can definitely do that.
For the Texans, there’s no need to really analyze this deal. They gave up nothing, and got a pick that generally is expected to provide very little in return. I suppose there’s an off-chance they hit a home run with the pick, but the odds are stacked against it. This is basically a leverage deal that they were able to make because they held the “best” of a bunch of bad quarterbacks on the market. The most important thing that happened in this trade is that the Texans sucked up all of Schaub’s dead cap money this year, rather than having it linger into 2015. That’s a good move for a team that, barring a No. 1 overall quarterback that is good out of the gate and superior coaching, is probably looking at a rebuilding season.
I am less than enthralled with the Ryan Fitzpatrick signing. My favorite thing about it is watching media types connect the dots that he must be smart, because he attended Harvard. Well, guess what? On the field, he’s not actually very smart. He can crumble quickly in pockets, he looks to scramble fairly quickly, and I always saw him as someone who played better when told to run a streetball offense rather than the kind of system Dowell Logains wanted. I should say, though, that my distaste with the signing isn’t based on thinking Fitzpatrick is a bad schematic fit, or that he’s a bad quarterback compared to who else was on the market: my objection is simply that I don’t believe in spending money on a backup quarterback. I don’t think adding reliably mediocre quarterbacking off the bench is something worth giving an actual contract of substance to. The Texans, of course, learned last year when Case Keenum had four solid games against tough defenses that you can engineer mediocre quarterback play — then immediately switched away from an offense he was comfortable running because (SENSIBLE REASON NOT FOUND), and decided that was enough of that. Some other names I’ll throw out at you: Brian Hoyer, Thaddeus Lewis. I really don’t think it’s so hard to find a decent backup quarterback that it’s worth guaranteeing them money. But, other than that thought process, I have no real problem with them choosing Fitzpatrick.
- Texans sign S Kendrick Lewis to a one-year deal, worth $795,000.
I’m not a huge Kendrick Lewis fan, but when your franchise is at the intersection of Keo Drive and Pleasant Lane, and is staring at more holes than it can reasonably expect to replace in one offseason, I have no problem with this contract. Lewis has been an NFL starter for quite awhile, is still rather young (entering his age 26 season in 2014), and has generally not been a huge weakness for his teams. That’s not to say he’s been appreciably good in coverage or run defense — though he has his moments — but when you’re looking for stopgap safety play, you’re not going to get much better than this.
In a lot of ways, this is just a rehash of the same-old, same-old Texans safety philosophy, where they dig up an in-his-prime player with starting experience and not much of a market. Wil Demps and Eugene Wilson say hello. But I think Lewis is better than either of those guys were, and it’s not like the contract is holding them back from picking up someone of actual importance should they become available.