RGIII Benched…Whats Next for the Redskins QB?

The Washington Redskins have benched Robert Griffin III, which likely indicates the end of the road for Griffin with the Redskins organization. Let’s look at the financials of his contract, what might happen in the future with him, and what a mess it was that got them to this point.

Releasing Griffin is not going to be a popular option for Washington next season due to the guarantees in his contract. Griffin was lucky enough to be drafted in the 2012 season when the concept of “no offsets” became a big clause in highly drafted rookie contracts. What that means is if the Redskins were to release Griffin, he would collect money from the Redskins and whatever other team in the NFL sign him. His fully guaranteed salary is  $3,269,877 in 2015. That makes the Redskins preferred option is the trade of Griffin where the guaranteed salary will transfer to the new team and thus save the Redskins a $3 million charge.

Finding a trade partner might not be the easiest thing for Washington. It is already a given they will not get value for RGIII. Not only does he look like a broken QB, but he only has one more season under contract. A team can exercise an option for 2016, but the cost of that option is the cost of the 2015 Transition tag for QBs, which will likely be in excess of $15 million. A team only has until May 3 of 2015 to exercise the option and while it is only initially guaranteed for injury, Griffin’s injury history will likely make the price too steep.


So any team trading for him will almost certainly look at this as a one year marriage and not pick up the option. That means you need to have the confidence that your organization can spend the time “fixing” him and signing him long term to a reasonable contract if you do fix him. When Mark Sanchez was released by the Jets this season he found lukewarm interest in free agency, eventually settling for a low guarantee/cost contract from the Eagles who were willing to take that chance due to his potential upside. His most likely destination would be to a team with no quarterback that may not have the potential to draft one this season. Teams like the Jets, Rams, and Texans would be the most likely fits to take a one year flier on him. You might throw the Vikings and even Eagles into that mix, though I cant see another Washington/Philadelphia trade occuring.

Washington has come under a great deal of scrutiny for this decision. A number of people believe you should make him play through this and force him to learn while others realize he wasn’t playing at an NFL level and needed to be benched. The Redskins needed to make this move for the future of their team, as crazy as it sounds. They have 52 other players on that team to consider and the way Griffin acted at times after these games he likely alienated every one of them.  It is one thing to believe in a young, potential superstar, but its another to have a failing player bring down a whole organization.

Playing him at this point was not going to help or hurt his trade value, but the threat of injury was real and that would destroy any trade value which made this move a must in my opinion. His lack of awareness was startling last week and there is almost no chance his body would hold up to that beating again. To get anything for him he has to be healthy and this is the only way to accomplish this.

Thats not to say Washington has handled him well. They are the most dysfunctional organization in the NFL and everything they did with him just added to the mess. The Redskins gave him the keys to the kingdom before he really ever took a snap in the NFL. Head coach Mike Shanahan tailored an offense to his skillset in 2012 and Griffin exceeded all expectations as he was clearly the most successful of the top QB’s drafted that season. But success seemed to go to his head and the Redskins protection of him just fed into that. Shanahan had a similar issue with Jay Cutler in Denver where his constant praise just added to an attitude that still follows Cutler to this day.

RGIII was injured and had a falling out with Shanahan that offseason. Washington’s handling of the QB at that point was ridiculous. Because of his shortcomings in running a pro style offense he needed a real offseason of work to continue to grow in 2013. The injury made that impossible, at least from a physical standpoint. They still decided he should be the starter at the opening of the regular season, a decision that seemed to come from the owner. Griffin didn’t look healthy and regressed, falling far behind fellow draft mate Andrew Luck who improved tremendously in year 2. Eventually RGIII got the coach fired.

Under new coach Jay Gruden, RGIII looked even more unprepared than he did under Shanahan. He looked terrible and these last few weeks looked as if he was mentally checking out of the games. His coach undressed him in a press conference after Griffin ripped the effort level of his team, in a bizarre scene that showed how far this rift had gotten. Gruden made a stand and had to have ownerships back at this point to keep the other 52 guys focused on a future that would include the coach but not the QB.

The trade for RGIII will likely go down as one of the worst draft trades in the NFL. Though I do think a fair argument could be made for the Rams not trading away that pick the fact was they fleeced the Redskins in terms of value. The trade illustrates the premium that teams put on the QB position as no other recent trades have come close to that kind of one sided nature.  RGIII has now failed with two coaches, both of whom could not stand him by the end of the season, and rubbed most of his teammates the wrong way. Its a disaster.  In the end the Redskins paid a huge price, got one playoff game, and two years of headaches and drama because of it.



Buccaneers Trade Barron and Casillas


While not much was expected at the deadline the Buccaneers made some noise by selling off former first round draft pick saftey Mark Barron to the Rams and linebacker Jonathan Casillas to the Patriots.

The trade of Barron is the interesting one because again it shows how the new CBA allows first round picks to be traded away rather than being forced to keep an unwanted player on the roster. I would expect more of these in the future.

Barron still has two years remaining under contract, both fully guaranteed, as well as an option year that can be picked up for 2016 after this season. The Rams will take on $902,719 in cap charges in 2014 and $2,362,704 in 2015. The Rams released Case Keenum to make make room for Barron which saves them $262,059 against ths salary cap. The Rams only had about $540,000 in cap room as of today so they likely had to restructure a contract to fit Barron on the roster. In the past the player they always go to in these situations is Chris Long so I would not be surprised if his deal was tweaked today as well.

Casillas was signed this year as a free agent and had received $200,000 in an offseason bonus. The Patriots will take on the the balance of his salay, $582,353, for this year.

The Buccaneers will keep a $2,240,273 dead money charge against their 2015 cap for Barron. They will avoid $902,719 in payments this year for Barron and $582,353 for Casillas which will boost their miniscuke $410,000 in cap room that remained following the extension of Gerald McCoy. This should give them the breathing room they need for the rest of the year.


A Look at Trading Vincent Jackson


The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and one of the names being rumored as available is Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson’s name is one that I have thrown around here for over a month due once it was clear that Tampa Bay was not going to fire this season.

Though big trades in the NFL are rare, especially during the season, Jackson is the perfect candidate. He is still productive, but at 31 years old will likely not have many top seasons left in him, which may not be the best fit for the Bucs moving forward. He does not seem as productive in this offense which has not really featured his best trait of going vertical down the field. He is putting up the lowest numbers of his career in terms of YPC, but that has improved over the last two games with Mike Glennon at QB. So if the Bucs will look elsewhere in 2015 its best to get something in return for him.

A team that acquires Jackson would be responsible for 9/17 of his $10 million base salary, which amounts to $5,294,118 in salary. Since he would replace someone on the roster a team would need about $5.1 million in cap space just to execute the trade. Jackson’s 2015 salary is a non-guaranteed $9.777 million salary so a team could also consider prorating some of this years salary to make the deal work within the salary cap.  Though the Buccaneers often work with all cash contracts, the Bucs prorated a large amount of money with Jackson in 2012 as preparation to make a move on Darrelle Revis in 2013. The dead money charge for the Bucs in 2015 would be $4.864 million.

The competitive teams in the NFL that could need a wide receiver and also have the cap room to execute the trade would be the following:

Browns ($19.0M)

Eagles ($16.3M)

Patriots ($9.0M)

Seahawks ($8.7M)

Chiefs ($5.4M)

For the Chiefs such a move would likely be a one year rental. They have a very tight salary cap situation in 2015 and need to re-sign Justin Houston, so taking on any additional salary would compromise their future. Seattle just traded away Percy Harvin which created the room they would need if they wanted to bring in a true vertical threat like Jackson and work him into their system. Philadelphia would be an interesting landing spot as they have been overly reliant on Jeremy Maclin and Jackson would give them a devastating group of players at the position.

Harvin, a disgruntled and overpaid player, was traded to the Jets for a 6th round pick that could escalate to a 4th rounder based on contract status. A few years back the Patriots acquired a 33 year old Chad Johnson from the Bengals for a 5th and 6th round pick. Jackson is younger and more productive than Johnson but probably does not have the long term upside of a Harvin. I would lean towards most teams considering no higher than a 4th round pick for him or maybe a conditional 3rd rounder. I would be pretty surprised if Tampa received close to their rumored asking price of a 2nd round pick.


@ZackMooreNFL’s Take on Harvin to the Jets


The Seahawks and Jets just rocked the football world with the rare in season trade as the Jets have just received Percy Harvin for a conditional pick. 

It seems like a strange move considering the Seahawks gave up a first, third and seventh rounder for him and they’re a team that highly values their draft picks, along with the fact that he’s one of the most explosive playmakers in football, but it also makes complete sense when you look at some of the numbers along with how the Seahawks are constructed. 

According to ESPN’s fantasy department, “Harvin only played 59.5 percent of Seattle’s snaps this year — nearly 30 percent less than both Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse — and Harvin doesn’t have the blocking skills a run-heavy offense like Seattle’s would ideally feature at receiver.” Considering that he’s also owed a non-guaranteed $41.5 million over the next four years, they must have decided that Paul Richardson was a better move for them financially. 

I think the writing was on the wall when they drafted Richardson with a second round pick last May, he’s the same kind of explosive playmaker, but he’s playing on a four year, $4.7 million deal, while Harvin is in the middle of a five year $64.2 million deal and playing less than 60% of the team’s snaps. They must feel that Richardson is ready to step into that role sooner than expected.

The fact that Harvin is one of the most injury prone players in the league must have also factored into this decision, on both ends as he is apparently only worth a mid-round pick which I think is a reflection of his injury history. We can all agree that he’s one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL and while I know he hasn’t performed very well this year, if a player like Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders was traded mid-season in this way, they’d command much higher than a mid-round pick.

While I do think that Harvin is a difficult player to deal with as a team because of how much time he misses, the Jets are well equipped to handle him missing time with Jeremy Kerley. I think it’s a great move for the Jets, when you can get one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL for a mid-round pick and you have the salary cap space to do it, it’s a great move for your team, I just wish it came before they sank to 1-6 on the season. 

I think he’ll fit in well with what Rex Ryan does with his offense as well and what I like most about this move is the fact that after this season, they’ll know for sure if Geno Smith is the quarterback of the future. While I know the team hasn’t performed as well as an optimist would hope, they’ve got a lot of weapons around Geno Smith now. 

Pretend this isn’t the New York Jets and all the negativity that creeps into your mind just at the sight of their name in text, think of their skill players right now. The running backs are Chris Ivory with the power, Chris Johnson with speed, Bilal Powell as the number three after rushing for 697 yards last season. 

They’ve got Eric Decker on the outside finally healthy after a hamstring issue to start the season, a guy who had 2,352 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012 and 2013. Now, you’ve got Percy Harvin as your #2 guy which will open Decker up to more single coverage and freedom to make plays. I know we haven’t seen Harvin play 16 games since 2011, but at least he’s well rested, am I right?!?!?! 

In 2011 though, Harvin was one of the best players in the league with 87 catches, 967 yards receiving, 345 rushing and 8 offensive touchdowns. In 2012, he played 9 games and had 62 catches for 677 yards and 3 TDs, which over 16 games would give him 110 catches for 1,203 yards. 

There are some guys who are just too explosive for their own good almost, I’ve seen it at DeFranco’s Gym with guys like Michael Smith who was a 7th rounder in 2012 and a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but just hasn’t been able to stay healthy during his time in the NFL. Harvin might be one of those guys, but with the right training and care, we could see him blossom in this new opportunity.

Let’s not forget that the Jets still have Jeremy Kerley who is a nice supplement to this offense, but shouldn’t be a focal point like he’s had to be at times this season. Falling back into a role more suited for him, we will see him benefit from this as well. Greg Salas and David Nelson are good role players in the 4th and 5th receiver spots, which is more suited for who they are as players right now. 

At tight end, I think the Jets have a future All-Pro type player in Jace Amaro, I love what he did at Texas Tech and he fits exactly what the Jets needed going into the draft, so I’m very happy to see the hometown green team making some savvy moves after the mockery that the last few years have been. Jeff Cumberland is a very good second tight end, so there’s another guy that the Jets have put in a better place to succeed through good decisions. 

One thing that I really like about the Seahawks is their open mindedness and ability to admit they made a mistake and rectify it. Considering the way the Seahawks manage their team, spending $64.2 million on an oft-injured, risky player like Harvin is outside of what they normally do, a mistake they already made with Sidney Rice. They saw an opportunity to rid themselves of a contract that wasn’t working out for them, you just don’t pay someone that kind of money to play 60% of your snaps. It’s not Harvin’s fault either, he just didn’t seem to be the right fit for that kind of money. 

The Seahawks are the kind of team that sends a brochure to agents of undrafted free agents to show them how they let the best players play no matter where they’re drafted. Simply put, they might just be the most well managed team in all of football right now, so they just cut costs with a player who wasn’t fitting in well anyway.

I see some people questioning this move considering that the Seahawks gave up three picks for Harvin to get him, but they just became so much more flexible heading into the future and they won a Super Bowl last season. Sure, Richardson might not be Harvin, but they must have decided that he is a good enough substitute after a cost-benefit analysis. They won a Super Bowl with Harvin playing one regular season game and the Super Bowl, they must have decided that getting rid of this contract was the right move.

Overall, I rate this as a great trade for both sides and I’m excited to see how the Jets use him. Dear Rex Ryan, don’t Tebow us with this one, I can feel the excitement of Jets fans bursting through my social media networks, don’t break their hearts my good man!


Onnit.com: Total Human Optimization 



Seahawks Trade Percy Harvin to the Jets


According to Jay Glazer the Seattle Seahawks have traded wide reciever Percy Harvin to the New York Jets for a mid round draft pick. In my opinion this is one of the rare actual “work out best for both sides” trades.

The Seahawks acquired Harvin via trade in 2013 from the Minnesota Vikings in what was a bit of a head scratcher. Seattle gave up their first round pick in 2013 and a mid round pick in 2014 for the rights to Harvin. Harvin had worn out his welcome in Minnesota due to his unhappiness with his contract following an injury filled season. The Seahawks would turn around and sign him to a $67 million, 6 year contract that contained $12.85 million per year in new money. The salary moved him, depending on how one valued it, into either the top 3 or top 5 at the position in salary despite never having a 1,000 yard season.

The Seahawks paid Harvin $14.5 million in 2013 to catch 1 pass for 17 yards in an injury filled regular season. Harvin would have two big runs and a kickoff return for a TD in the Super Bowl that year. Since the Jets played their game this week Harvin I believe will be paid by Seattle, leaving Seattle with a $4.5 million bill for 22 receptions for 133 yards. This will likely go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history.

Moving on from the contract and getting anything in return was good for the Seahawks. It seemed clear he did not fit in their offense and they had no idea if there was a way to utilize him. Seattle will now save $6.47 million in salary cap space and salary this year by trading him, money that can be rolled over to the 2015 season and used for the Wilson extension. Harvin will carry a $7.2 million dead money charge on the Seahawks 2015 salary cap, which represents another $5.7 million in freed up cap space, though it was likely they were releasing him next year anyway.

From the Jets perspective the team was devoid of talent and it was worth taking a risk on a player like Harvin. His ability in the short passing game should fit with what the Jets are currently running on offense and allow Eric Decker to see less help when he goes down the field.  In theory it can open up two layers of field if teams still have any fear of Harvin or he re-earns the fear of defensive coordinators.

The Jets had the lowest payroll in the NFL and one of the largest cap surpluses in the league. Harvin will eat up $6.47 million of the Jets cap room this year in what will amount to a half season audition to keep his contract. In 2015 Harvin will carry a $10.5 million salary and salary cap charge.  None of that money is guaranteed so if Harvin fails to perform the Jets can either release him or look to renegotiate the salary back down to a more reasonable price range that fits with his performance. Harvins total contract value over the next four seasons works out to $10.375 million per year so there are many ways to work within the contract to reduce the salary while keeping his value at a high level to keep any egos happy.


For the Jets there is no risk here. He is not displacing anyone of importance on the team. He can be released at any time. The Jets cap space was projected to be so high that there was likely no way they could spend all of it so even if he stays at his full price it does not make a material impact in any plans moving forward. The Jets also are in a position where thy will need to spend money just to meet the salary minimums in the CBA so this gives them a chance to see a player in uniform before commiting that money to him, which is always a plus. I would assume that this does mean Jeremy Kerley will not be back with the Jets next season.

Harvin will get to be one of the rare players in the NFL that will be paid for two bye weeks. The Seahawks already had their bye week while the Jets is still upcoming.

I’ll update Harvin’s contract to reflect the trade later tonight or early tomorrow morning. But for now you can view is old contract here 


Trading Dead Money & The NFL Expiring Contract

Dead money has historically served as an impediment to the consummation of player-related trades in the NFL, but recent trends in contract structuring have opened up the possibility for the opposite outcome to take place: dead money as a driver of player-related trades. The new, and increasingly common, contract structures employed by NFL teams allow for dead money to be assigned to any team, whereas traditional contract structures rendered dead money “stuck” with the team which had originally signed the player. As a result, much dead money is now “tradable,” allowing for NBA-style transactions in which one team provides compensation to another team in return for taking on cap-clogging contracts.

Prior to the trade deadline of the 2013 season, the Philadelphia Eagles traded Isaac Sopoaga to the New England Patriots for marginal draft pick compensation. At first glance, the trade seemed fairly inconsequential. Sopoaga, while a starter, had not received a substantial amount of playing time for the Eagles, and the Patriots did not send a noteworthy amount of compensation in return. However, the transaction was somewhat surprising due to the fact that the Eagles had just signed Sopoaga to a three-year contract in free agency prior to the season. The contract, worth a total of $11 million, included $4.75 million worth of guaranteed money. The guaranteed money came in the form of a $2.75 million roster bonus in 2013, a $1 million guaranteed base salary in 2013, and $1 million of the $3.75 million 2014 base salary guaranteed.

This final portion of guaranteed money is what makes this transaction interesting and potentially precedent setting. The Eagles, having apparently decided that they did not want Sopoaga on the team anymore, managed to trade not only the player, but also the $1 million worth of guaranteed money, to the Patriots. If the Eagles had released Sopoaga in the spring of 2014, this $1 million worth of guaranteed money would have become $1 million worth of dead money for the Eagles. Instead, the Patriots released Sopoaga in the spring of 2014 and absorbed the dead money.

Under a “traditional” contract structure, the $4.75 million guaranteed (let’s use $4.8 million for the sake of round numbers) would have come in the form of a signing bonus, with $1.6 million counting against the cap each of the 3 seasons of the contract. If the player were to be traded or released prior to completion of the contract, the yet unaccounted for $1.6 million amounts would accelerate against the salary cap in the year of the transaction (or in the following year if the June 1st rule is applicable). With such a structure, the Eagles-Patriots trade would most likely not have taken place, because the Eagles would incur $3.2 million worth of dead money in 2014 had they traded Sopoaga during the 2013 regular season. The Patriots would receive a salary cap windfall – a player on a contract stripped of all prorated signing bonus amounts and without any potential to generate subsequent dead money – but the Eagles would receive a substantial salary cap hit.

An alternative traditional structure would have involved including the entire $4.8 million guarantee as a roster bonus in 2013. Such a structure would preclude any future dead money, but it also requires more salary cap space in the year of signing. Teams have also traditionally used a combination of signing bonus and first-year roster bonus, with the aforementioned pros and cons of each present to the degree of distribution between the two.

However, in the years since the 2011 CBA was signed, a new type of contract structure has emerged. With Sopoaga’s contract being an example, this new contract structure typically features a fully guaranteed first year base salary, a first-year roster bonus, and full or partial guarantees on subsequent-year base salaries. Under this structure, the salary cap allocation of the guaranteed money – and the potential dead money associated with such guaranteed money – is spread over multiple years. But because the guaranteed money comes in the form of guaranteed base salary, it can be traded to another team, whereas prorated signing bonus guaranteed money and first-year roster bonus guaranteed money cannot be.

These charts demonstrate the difference in potential Sopoaga contract structures:

Traditional Signing Bonus Structure

SeasonSalary Cap AllocationPotential Dead MoneyTradable?

Traditional Roster Bonus Structure

SeasonSalary Cap AllocationPotential Dead MoneyTradable?

2011 CBA Style Structure

SeasonSalary Cap AllocationPotential Dead MoneyTradable?

These effects have already been seen to some degree in trades involving failed rookies drafted under the new CBA, such as Trent Richardson and AJ Jenkins, but those trades still resulted in dead money for the player’s former team, and the contracts were not specifically designed to facilitate dead money trading.  Isaac Sopoaga’s contract is insignificant within the context of a $133,000,000 salary cap, but one can imagine a scenario in which this new type of contract structure  paves the way for significant dead money dumping deals.

The contract Alex Mack signed with Jacksonville, and which Cleveland matched, contains $8 million worth of guaranteed money in 2015, but it did not include a signing bonus.  If Alex Mack the football player becomes worthless during the 2014 season, how much compensation would Cleveland be willing to provide to another team in order for that team to trade for Mack’s contract and then release him, thereby absorbing the dead money instead of Cleveland?  In other words, how much (in terms of draft picks or young players) is $8 million in cap room worth?

These types of trades have long been a feature of the NBA, where salary cap space is harder to come by and the guaranteed portions of contracts extend longer than the types of NFL contracts discussed here. In the upcoming NBA draft the Detroit Pistons will send the 9th pick to the Charlotte Hornets as a result of a June 2012 trade in which the Pistons traded the two years remaining on Ben Gordon’s contract for the one year remaining on Cory Maggette’s contract. Detroit essentially traded a future first round pick in exchange for dumping two year’s worth of dead money onto Charlotte in exchange for only one year’s worth of dead money.

Perhaps the opportunity to have the flexibility to engage in this type of transaction will encourage teams to implement this type of contract structure more often. The teams that have gotten into serious salary cap trouble have done so because they were forced to release players with large cap numbers but did not recoup a corresponding amount of cap room because of high dead money acceleration. If these teams could trade the dead money to other teams, they could buy themselves another year or two of contention at the expense of draft picks. This most likely exacerbates the problem in the long-term, but it’s a strategy nonetheless.

Perhaps a rebuilding team with ample cap room will determine that its best long-term strategy is to utilize its cap room to take on dead money contracts in trades in exchange for draft picks instead of utilizing the cap room to sign free agents or re-sign its own players. The merits of such a strategy are debatable, but it is a strategy that a patient organization could potentially utilize to success.

Perhaps the term “expiring contract” will enter the NFL lexicon for the same reason it has become widespread in that of the NBA.  But unlike the Sopoaga trade, dead money trades will likely feature the team alleviating itself of the dead money surrendering the draft pick compensation.  As a result, a market will emerge in which amounts of cap room can be priced in terms of draft picks and/or young players.

Having established the foundation for this concept, in my next piece I will propose a new contract structure that takes this notion to its logical extreme in allowing for maximum flexibility in trading and timing the effect of dead money.

Bryce Johnston

eaglescap@yahoo.com, @eaglessalarycap

Raiders Trade for Matt Schaub


Yesterday the Oakland Raiders moved a sixth round pick to the Houston Texans to acquire the rights to QB Matt Schaub. Schaub had come under great scrutiny since the Texans signed him to an ill-advised extension worth $15.5 million a year, a number that, at the time, made him one of the two highest paid “non-Super Bowl” winners in the NFL. Schaub was coming off injury and had just one year remaining on his contract in 2012 when the Texans made the move. By the end of 2012, when team expectations were high and Schaub’s physical limitations began to be scrutinized more due to those expectations and his contract, he began to falter.

After an exit in the 2012 playoffs there were questions as to whether or not Schaub should be back in 2013, technically just the first year of his new contract. The large guarantees in his contract made that an impossibility but the talk of it seemed to rattle his confidence. Schaub had a meltdown under the pressure and went through a series of injuries and benchings during the course of the 2013 season. It was clear he needed a new home to try to resurrect his career.

For the Raiders the move is a no-brainer. They had no quarterback of note on the roster and need to turn the fortunes of the team around. Before Schaub began to get rattled in 2012 he was having a very good season and had always been careful with the football. As long as his confidence returns at worst the Raiders get a professional behind center.

The contract itself is one that the Raiders should not touch to give him added “job security” or anything else they feel may help him with his confidence. The Raiders have a high draft pick and should not look at the addition of Schaub as a reason to not use it on a prospect, so keeping outs in his contract would be a smart decision. Schaub will be 33 this season and while that is young enough to get two years out of him I would not call it likely to expect much more than that, at least at a relatively high level of football. The Raiders also need to plan for the fact that Schaub could also be finished.

Because no prorated money enters the equation in a trade the contract itself works out perfect for the Raiders current contract format of no signing bonus money and instead the use of base salaries and incentivized roster bonuses. Schaub will only cost the Raiders a maximum of $11 million this season in cash and salary cap, which is the second lowest paid veteran “starter” QB in the NFL behind Alex Smith of the Chiefs.  If you look at this as a two year contract with an annual value of $12.25 million it ranks as 4th lowest among veteran starters. So the contract is not as bad from the Raiders perspective as some are making it out to be.

The decision will bring more scrutiny to GM Reggie McKenzie’s handling of the Carson Palmer situation in 2013. McKenzie wanted Palmer to take a paycut of $3 million in 2013 which Palmer refused to do because of how he felt he was being treated in Oakland. McKenzie traded Palmer and a 7th rounder to the Arizona Cardinals for a 6th rounder and a conditional draft pick in 2014.  The Raiders would then send a 5th in 2014 to the Seahawks for Matt Flynn, who was an epic disaster and released in October. McKenzie restructured Flynn’s contract for both cap relief and the ability to give him that “job security” adding more dollars to the picture that the Raiders had to account for when Flynn was released.

Palmer ended up reducing his salary in 2013 and 2014 with the Cardinals from $27 million to $16 million with a chance to earn $4 million in incentives and escalators.  The guarantees were just $10 million. Schaub is essentially a lateral move from Palmer putting the Raiders right back to where they were in 2012. All told the Raiders will spend, assuming Schaub does not take a paycut, $26.84 million in salary cap charges in 2013 and 2014 for Palmer, Flynn, and now Schaub. The Cardinals spent $16 on Palmer over the same time period.

The Raiders are probably the best example in the NFL of the desperate levels that teams will go to try to fix the QB position. In the last three years the Raiders have sent draft picks to other teams for the services of Jason Campbell(4th in 2012), Carson Palmer(1st in 2012 and 2nd in 2013), Matt Flynn (5th in 2014) and now Matt Schaub(6th in 2014). The first three QB’s started a total of  43 games in four seasons going 19-24. Over that same time frame the Raiders have also drafted Terrelle Pryor (supplemental that cost a 3rd in 2012) and Tyler Wilson (4th in 2013). Pryor started 10 games in 3 years while Wilson was released in 2013. When you combine all the picks(1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th) the Raiders have essentially given up an entire draft for the position. That’s quite the waste of resources.

For McKenzie he needs Schaub to work out our this will likely be the end of his run in Oakland, where he oversaw the salary cap teardown of the team and had little success on the field while struggled with the mistakes of the organization before him. The Raiders have spent approximately $47 million in cap space this season, mainly on veterans likely leaving their primes than entering it, which means the improvement needs to come quickly. They still maintain cap flexibility as almost every contract has a one year escape window, but he wont be in Oakland if they have to pull that switch in 2015.