As expected, the Raiders completed a trade with the Houston Texans for quarterback Matt Schaub yesterday. It has been reported that the Raiders traded their 6th round pick for the quarterback, who struggled mightily in 2013.
When announcing the trade and bring out Schaub to talk to the media, Dennis Allen confirmed the mostly-obvious: that Schaub was their starter at this point.
“We brought Matt Schaub in to be our starting quarterback,” Allen said.
Schaub’s 2013 was beyond forgettable – it was practically infamous. At one point in the season, he threw a TD that was returned for an interception in 4 straight games, an NFL record and not the type of record a player wants to set.
“Things got going in the wrong direction and he couldn’t get it turned around,” said former Raiders QB Rich Gannon, who weighed in on the trade in a phone interview. “He pressed a little bit. He lost some of his confidence. The team lost confidence in him.”
For his part, Schaub declined to shed much light into his thoughts on 2013. He consistently deflected questions and talked about moving forward with the Raiders. He did say, “A fresh start can do a lot of things for a player and a team and I’m one of those guys.” He added, “The past is the past. I can’t do anything but move on to bigger and better things.”
Schaub is arguably the best QB that the Raiders have had since Rich Gannon, and they’ve had a lot of quarterbacks in that time. Schaub was named to two Pro Bowls with the Texans, in 2009 and 2012.
Dennis Allen was hopeful when comparing Schaub to another decorated quarterback in Kurt Warner, who was able to be productive after changing teams late in his career going from a backup role on the New York Giants to taking Arizona to the Super Bowl.
Count newly re-signed free safety Charles Woodson as a supporter of the move. “I know he’ll help us win, that’s for sure,” Woodson said. “He’s a veteran player who’s been around and knows how to win games.”
Another benefit from the Schaub trade, as pointed out by Dennis Allen, is that it allows the Raiders to go with almost any player in the draft. “You don’t feel that pressure that you have to go out there and draft a quarterback,” Allen said. “You kind of let everything fall to you now.”
That comment is one of several that seem to indicate that the Raiders are now unlikely to pick a quarterback with the fifth overall selection, although it’s not outside the realm of possibility considering this is the lying season, where most if not all teams put some misdirection out to throw off their opponents.
Regardless, the point is a valid one – the Raiders do not have to force a pick at any position, now, and are able to take the players they think will most help out the team to build depth and find some impact players with each of their picks.
It remains to be seen if the trade for Schaub is a good one for the team. If he returns to his pre-2013 level of play, the Raiders will have a solid quarterback, who can make NFL caliber throws, and for whom offensive coordinator Greg Olson can open up more of his offense, as pointed out by Rich Gannon.
“He’s a smart guy, he can handle a lot of volume and a lot of intricacies and details of an offense,” Gannon said of Schaub. He added, “(Offensive coordinator) Greg Olson will be able to do a lot more.”
The Raiders will pay a good amount of money for Schaub to play in Silver and Black in 2014, taking on his $10 million base salary and a roster bonus worth almost another million. Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen, and his staff have firmly hitched their wagon to Matt Schaub and his success or failure will likely determine who is around next year in Oakland.
Because they traded for Schaub, they get his contract with him. The guaranteed money in Schaub’s contract has already been paid, so they can cut Schaub before any given season without any dead money on the contract. This means that the Schaub experiment can last as long or short as the team needs.