The Oakland Raiders have their man. Their man — quarterback Matt Schaub, among the NFL’s best at what he does — cost them only a sixth round draft pick to acquire.
And, their man also allows them to rationally draft Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, or really anyone, something that wasn’t factual a week ago.
Schaub, who holds a career passer rating of 89.8, has started in two Pro Bowls yet has never had the tools to work with that the Raiders can provide.
It didn’t take long for head coach Dennis Allen to announce the club’s intent:
“We brought Matt Schaub in to be our starting quarterback. We feel very confident that he is going to be able to come in and function in that role and be outstanding for us. Obviously, we love having competition within the team, but right now Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback.”
Last season was Schaub’s worst by far, throwing 14 interceptions to only 10 touchdowns in eight starts. The new regime in Houston decided that Schaub’s time to leave had come, despite the fact that he was dealing with a lisfranc injury during those starts.
Oakland capitalizes, and to offensive coordinator Greg Olson, he’ll be a perfect fit for the Raiders:
“First of all, he’s got proven track record … nine seasons of a 90-plus quarterback rating, which I think there are only four or five players in the history of the league that have ever done that. … We feel like he’s got a lot of football ahead of him.”
The Raiders would have found difficulty finding better with their sixth round draft pick that now goes to the Texans. The move, though, has not been without its share of criticism.
No matter for Schaub, who says this might have been his best-case scenario:
“Last year did not go at all how I had planned, given my prior nine years before that. I’m looking for a fresh start. I’m excited about the opportunity here and the players on this team, the coaches, the plan and the direction.”
The offseason is bringing plenty of fresh faces for Raiders fans with the additions of Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Donald Penn, Kevin Boothe, Austin Howard, James Jones, Tarell Brown, and a few others. Oh, and they keep Charles Woodson for another year.
Allen said that the team will never be done finding personel that can help the team, though they are inching closer to the salary cap thanks to Schaub’s $10 million cap number. The team can reduce that by converting some of the base salary into a bonus.
Schaub was asked if he was the guy to right the ship. Without much hesitation, he said:
“Without question, I think I’m that guy. That’s one of the most unique and intriguing aspects of coming to this organization is the rich and storied tradition that they have here, especially at this position. There are so many great quarterbacks that have played here, played at a championship level.”
Much easier said than done. But detractors may have difficulty finding ways that the Raiders haven’t improved. The real test comes soon. Then everyone will know.