Raiders vet QB search: Possible cap casualties

Raiders vet QB search: Possible cap casualties
February 14, 2014, 1:45 pm
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Matt Schaub lost his job to Case Keenum, while a shoulder injury forced Mark Sanchez to watch Geno Smith take his job. (AP)

This year’s free-agent class of quarterbacks is razor-thin as it currently stands, but the cavalry is coming. Relatively speaking, of course.

The Raiders are in need of a veteran quarterback, and they could wait to see if passers become salary-cap casualties in the coming months. Teams could save some space by releasing quarterbacks of little use, especially those who has been passed over despite heavy contracts. There are a few apples expected to drop off the tree, including Houston’s Matt Schaub, Buffalo’s Kevin Kolb and New York Jets passer Mark Sanchez. St. Louis might let Sam Bradford go due to a large contract and an injury-prone career, though that’s far from certain.

[RELATED: Raiders veteran QB search: Josh McCown]

Others are more likely, and might be worth an extended look for a Raiders team looking for a 2014 starter.

Count Schaub and Sanchez among them. As with the free agent class, no choice is ideal. But those two have track records of success despite recent setbacks.

Let’s examine this further in the final installment of the veteran quarterback search series:

Matt Schaub
6-foot-5, 235 pounds
11th season, Virginia
Cap savings if cut:
$3.6 million

What Matt has to offer: It depends on what year we’re referring to. If we’re talking about five seasons prior to 2013, Schaub is pretty darn good. His completion percentage was above 60 and his touchdown to turnover ratio was excellent. His passer rating was consistently in the 90s. Last season, however, Schaub lost his job and his way. His play caused a Super Bowl contender to tank, throwing 14 interceptions in 10 games. He also had interceptions returned for a touchdown in four straight games. He lost his starting job last season and, most likely, his place on the Texans roster.

Why he’s a good fit: Schaub would has a long track record as a successful starter in the this league. If he can get over last season’s mishaps, Schaub could give the Raiders a legitimate producer under center. He could make the team instantly competitive with solid, generally mistake-free play. He’ll be hungry for to redeem himself after a terrible year in Houston where he struggled and was harassed by the fan base.

Why Raiders should stay away: The Raiders struggled in large part because their quarterback made costly mistakes. They can’t afford for that to happen again. Schaub hurt his team significantly last season, and never seemed to regain his poise. That led the Texans to go with an undrafted free agent at quarterback, which was the Raiders were forced to do. He might have lost his touch, and, as one of few solid quarterback options available might come at a greater premium than others.

[RELATED: Raiders veteran QB search: Michael Vick]

Mark Sanchez
6-2, 225
5th season, Southern California
Cap savings if cut:
$8.3 million

What Mark has to offer: Sanchez struggles at times in most every season and seems to operate well with an excellent team around him, but Sanchez brings playoff experience and an ability to perform in the clutch. He has 12 game-winning drives in four seasons, including two in the playoffs.

Why he’s a good fit: Sanchez could be a solid anchor in the locker room and benefit from being outside the New York media microscope. The Raiders lost so many games late last season, and having someone composed under pressure could help secure wins in close games. Sanchez is only 27 years old, and signing him could help with 2014 and help hedge bets if the young quarterback drafted doesn’t pan out.

Why Raiders should stay away: Sanchez’s stats don’t inspire confidence. He has more interceptions than touchdowns in his career, and struggled in 2012. There are also injury concerns. He missed the entire 2013 season with an injury to his throwing shoulder. If that has hurt his arm or effectiveness, Sanchez could be a flop.