Veteran passers on the move
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. As such, if you’ve got a good starter, great—go find a backup. If you’ve got a serviceable pivot, think about drafting a new one to groom. And if you’ve got nothing, then make like the teams mentioned below and scramble for what you can.
Thirty-two-year-old Matt Schaub has seen better days. The former third-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2004 has had a solid career, but he’s definitely on the decline. His last season with the Houston Texans was downright ugly. It seemed as though whenever he wasn’t throwing pick-sixes he was on the trainer’s table. It was a poor end in Houston for the man who’d brought that football team to respectability. And now he’s an Oakland Raider.
Shipped off for a sixth-rounder, Schaub appears to be an expensive ($11 million) stop-gap option for the Raiders as they search for their first decent quarterback since the glory days of Rich Gannon—a stop-gap to everyone, except Oakland coach Dennis Allen, that is: “He’s 32 years old and will be 33 when the season starts. You look at Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, all these guys are beginning to get up there in age so I think that this guy can play for a while.”
Did I just hear Schaub get compared to Brady, Brees, and Manning? You have to love Allen’s optimism, but Schaub is nowhere near in the same league as those big names. Schaub also lacks the supporting cast; who’s his all-star to throw to? James Jones?
In a move that would have made more sense last season, the New York Jets finally got their hands on Michael Vick with a one-year $5-million contract. Like Schaub, Vick is nowhere near the player he used to be, but unlike Schaub, he’s still got the ability to win football games… as long as he can stay healthy. While he doesn’t have an outstanding group of receivers to work with, the Jets have a strong running game that he can fall back on. That said, the one move that would really help the team is picking up DeSean Jackson from Philadelphia. Jackson has familiarity with Vick and would allow the team to push Eric Decker to his more suited role as a no.2 wideout. At the risk of coming off as a raving lunatic, the addition of a top receiver could potentially give the Jets a dangerous offence indeed.
In a corresponding move, the Jets released pricy flop Mark Sanchez. The once highly regarded pivot from USC has since degenerated into a shell of his potential. Still just 27-years-old with a pair of AFC Championship games under his belt, Sanchez will likely land as a backup somewhere—Cleveland if you believe the rumours—but his starting days are probably over. That being said, stranger things have happened.