Oakland Raiders Rumors: Is Matt Schaub Worth Pursuing?

By Carlton Chin
Matt Schaub
Thomas Campbell – USA TODAY Sports

There are rumors that the Oakland Raiders are interested in Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Should Raiders’ fans be excited? Should the Raiders even be interested?

There is no question that Schaub is a quality quarterback. Some would argue that a change in scenery can do wonders for a player. This is definitely true for Schaub, who was not very popular in Houston as the season wound down. Others would argue that the 32-year-old quarterback is aging. On one hand, the quarterback position offers longevity as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have shown. On the other hand, Schaub’s best years may be behind him, as research on the “age curve” shows. The age curve is a good predictor of player production and statistics as a function of age. Most players follow a fairly consistent pattern of performance decline with age. Schaub will turn 33 in June.

As background, Schaub had five straight seasons with a quarterback rating of 90 or more — until the Texans fell apart last year.  Schaub’s career quarterback rating of 89.8 is not too shabby, especially since this includes his dismal 2013 season. During the past season, Schaub had a QB rating of 73.0. Can Matt Schaub bounce back or are the Raiders interested in a sinking ship?

In Schaub’s defense, the Texans’ offensive line was one of the worst lines in the NFL in 2013. The Texans ranked poorly in key offensive line statistics such as sacks allowed, quarterback hits and tackles for a loss. The offensive line underperformed in helping both the Texans running and passing game. However, the numbers show that the offensive line was particularly poor in protecting Schaub.

Nobody can question the fact that Schaub had a subpar year. However, one of the benefits of our quant toolkit is that it allows us to decipher the impact that teammates have on one another. When deconstructing the Texans’ offense, much of the blame can be attributed to the offensive line. Furthermore, our analytical method of applying “wins above average” (WAA) shows us that while Schaub did have a subpar year, Schaub’s actual performance — normalized for the conditions — was not bad. The numbers show that we may see Schaub bounce back, especially in a new environment, where he is offered more protection. Happily, the Raiders’ offensive line is decent for a 4-12 team.

With the No. 5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Raiders are not expecting a marquee quarterback to be available. Schaub can offer the stability of a solid veteran at a key position, and allow the Raiders to pursue either the “best athlete” available or to improve their “weakest link.”

Carlton J. Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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