On Schaub in Houston, long term

June, 18, 2012
6/18/12
11:32
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With coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rich Smith approaching lame duck seasons, the Houston Texans saw fit to extend them.

[+] EnlargeMatt Schaub
Margaret Bowles/AP PhotoTexans quarterback Matt Schaub is entering the last year of his contract.
As Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle writes:
“As was the case with Kubiak and Smith, the (Matt Schaub) is in the last year of his contract. Players, especially quarterbacks, aren’t particularly fond of entering a season with only one year remaining on a contract.”

There are extenuating circumstances connected to Schaub, of course. If he had quarterbacked the Texans in to the playoffs last year, he’d have a big case. But he was hurt in the team’s 10th game and had to watch rookie T.J. Yates play the final six games of the regular season, quarterback the team to a playoff win over Cincinnati and endure rookie-quarterback misery in Baltimore in the loss that ended the team’s season.

The Texans and Schaub say the surgically repaired Lisfranc injury in his right foot is healed and he looked good in recent rehab work. But he did not return to the huddle in offseason work.

I can understand the team wanting to wait and see.

Schaub is due a salary of $7.15 million this season.

The Texans don’t do deals during the season, so if they don’t lock up Schaub or linebacker Connor Barwin or left tackle Duane Brown before the regular-season opener, Smith won’t look to negotiate until after the Texans’ year is open. A deep playoff run won’t leave a lot of time between the end of the season and the start of free agency.

Quality veteran quarterbacks rarely become available in free agency, because their teams can’t afford to let them get away. Quarterbacks aren’t typically eager to leave good situations to go start over and learn a new system, new coaches and new personnel while settling in a new city.

And I’m not sure there would be great outside demand for Schaub.

He is an excellent quarterback for what the Texans and Kubiak do, rolling out and running bootlegs, and is able to hit his targets on the move. The offense needs him, and he needs the offense.

That, I think, gives the Texans a level of security, and that security is what makes Schaub as a guy with an expiring contract far different from Kubiak or Smith.

If he has a healthy, successful year, I see him getting a premium contract.

If he is banged up and less successful, I see him getting less of a contract.

Whatever happens, it’d be a huge upset to me if he’s not the Texans quarterback in 2013.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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