By Rich Tandler
One of the interesting aspects of the NFL offseason is that for most actions, there is a reaction. Let’s just say that Peyton Manning does, indeed, wind up with the Texans as a radio personality in Houston is reporting. The chances of it happening are slim but stranger things have happened.
The reaction to that move would be that something would have to be done with Matt Schaub, Houston’s incumbent quarterback. It would be very difficult for them to keep both Manning, who will command a sizeable contract, and Schaub, who is slated to make $7 million this year.
If Schaub became available, you would have to think that the Redskins would have some interest in acquiring him, perhaps a great deal of interest. Kyle Shanahan worked with Schaub first as the quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator.
Schaub may not quite fit the definition of an elite franchise quarterback but he’s just a notch or two below that level. He was on pace for his third straight season with over 4,000 yards passing in 2011 when he went out with a Lisfranc injury. All indications are that he is ahead of schedule in his recovery for that injury and will be ready to go by training camp if not sooner. The Redskins have not had a 4,000-yard passer since 1999 and only Brad Johnson and Jay Schroeder have accomplished the feat for the Redskins and they did it once each.
So, would Schaub to the Redskins be a good idea? Maybe, but the devil is in the details.
First to be considered is the matter of trade compensation. Schaub will be 31 in June. He is in the last year of his contract and, as noted, he will make $7 million in 2012. His age and performance level might warrant a first-round pick or something close to it. But his contract status knocks that trade value down considerably. To get to the bottom line, there is no way I would give a first-round pick for him, not even if the Redskins were drafting considerably lower than sixth. I think about it for a second-rounder and I make the deal for a third without hanging up the phone.
OK, how about a contract? Donovan McNabb had only a year left on his contract when the Redskins traded for him and that did not work out so well. Either before a trade for Schaub or shortly thereafter I would want to get him signed.
Schaub signed his current deal in 2007. The six-year, $48 million contract paid him a $7 million signing bonus and salaries totaling about $13 million over the first three years. In the fourth year, Houston had to pay a $10 million roster bonus to keep him on the team. So, it was really a three-year, $20 million deal with the team able to buy an option for the final three years.
Something like that, with some of the numbers adjusted to account for a higher salary cap, might work. A deal that covers six years, $60 million with $20 million guaranteed, with most of the guaranteed money paid in the first two years should work.
So, to sum it up, getting Schaub for a first-round pick with a big contract that would carry a large cap hit to get out of after three years would not be a good acquisition. Schaub for a third-rounder with a cap friendly deal? Sign me up.
As noted, the chances that Schaub will be available to the Redskins are extremely slim. But the purpose here is to point out that acquiring a certain player could be a great move for the team or it could be a total disaster. It depends on what it takes to get that player and what kind of contract he gets.