Following QB Derek Carr’s performance in the preseason game and his seemingly rapid development, Raider Nation was screaming for him to be named the Raiders starting QB. Head Coach Dennis Allen heard their cries and obliged. Actually, I’m 100% confident, that the fans had nothing to do with it. Either way, Carr is starting, so where does that leave Matt Schaub?
Schaub is relegated to continued mentoring of the younger players, giving the defense a good looking opponent to practice against, running the scout team, helping the offense prepare for games and back-up duties. His salary is a bit steep to pay for a veteran to do those things. Raiders GM, Reggie McKenzie has drawn some criticism from Raiders fans for bringing Schaub in and that is a bit unwarranted.
Should Carr struggle enough to be benched, Schaub is able to come in and give the Raiders a chance to win some games. His sore elbow should be well rested. He has been through the process twice now so this is another way for him to help Carr. With Schaub on the roster (and Matt McGloin for that matter), The Raiders are deeper than nearly every other team in the league at QB. All three QBs are able to run the offense.
So what of Schaub’s salary? He restructured his contract and his salary and cap hit is only 8 million this season. The Raiders can cut him after this season with no salary cap hit and can even save $5.5 million on next year’s cap. (source: http://overthecap.com/salary-cap/oakland-raiders ).
Is it a waste to have a back-up who gets paid as much as Schaub? Perhaps, but Schaub is a bit more than just a back-up. The Raiders have a player-coach with him more or less. Having him run the scout team alone with his experience is bound to help their development. Also, his experience is invaluable to any rookie QB. Carr has even given credit to Schaub for his mentorship and his assistance in game preparation. Even though he has struggled on the field, Schaub has excelled in his additional duties and has vowed to put his best ability towards them..
The beauty of the situation is that the Raiders actually have a good problem for once: Too many good QBs. They made a good choice to “start the Carr”. They didn’t just “jump into the Carr” and take off either. A lot of consideration was given to the decision. They have a safety net with Schaub should anything go wrong or if the “Carr breaks down”. As it turns out, the trade for Schaub was worth a 6th round pick and his $8 million salary.