Dec 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) passes against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Best Available Free Agent Quarterbacks

The rumors out of the Oakland Raiders HQ say that they are interested in the Houston Texans quarterback (QB) Matt Schaub.  Further rumors also have the Raiders contemplating picking up Ex-NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez.  Still, some analysts and pundits believe that Free Agent QB’s Josh Freeman or Michael Vick would make sense for an offense that is struggling to find its identity.

With a boat load of Cap Space available to Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie, it’s hard to know who he really wants to bring into the organization.  The more expensive and somewhat ridiculous choice would be to offer the Houston Texans a trade for Matt Shaub.  Unfortunately, this would mean that the Raiders would have to pay his $10+ million dollar salary he is due in 2014.  A high price for somebody who more or less would be brought in as a backup to Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin, or a 2014 Draft Pick.  A better choice would be to grab him once he is released by the Texans, but the Raiders may not want to gamble with Schaub on the open market.

What value would Schaub bring to the Raiders?  Well, Shaub has been a winning QB in recent years.  As a matter of fact, he has passed for an average of 3,291.75 yards in the last four years.  He also averaged 17.75 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over those four seasons.  Unfortunately, his actions, or lack thereof, in 2013 may dictate his QB legacy.  However, if the Raiders are looking for a true pocket-passing quarterback with a strong arm, then Schaub makes sense, but the Raiders offensive scheme is still undefined.  Therefore, it is hard to imagine going after Schaub, especially with a price tag attached and he will turn 34 in 2014.

If the Raiders are going to look for a cheap veteran QB presence, or a veteran that can step in and compete for the starting job, then they have a choice in three others.  With he shuffling of the offensive line in full effect, a QB who can use his legs to scramble out of trouble is a better choice than a pocket passer.  Therefore, I like the idea of either Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, or Michael Vick.

Sanchez to me makes the most sense.  I know, I know, the “Butt Fumble” was ugly, but (no pun intended) he was under a lot of pressure in 2012 due to poor offensive line play.  His shoulder injury would mean that the Raiders could scoop him up at a huge discount, and he offers decent talent and youth (27 years of age) to a Raiders lackluster position.  Over the last four years, Sanchez has averaged 3,023 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.  In 2013, Pryor, McGloin, and Darren McFadden combined for 3,340 passing yards and just 16 passing touchdowns.  Think of what Sanchez could do with a better offensive line, stronger receivers, and a better running game.  This would be the smartest choice that the Raiders could make as far as the available quarterbacks are concerned, but this is just my opinion.

It wouldn’t be fair to just stop at Schaub and Sanchez.  Also available are quarterback’s Josh Freeman and Michael Vick.  Both offer their own unique styles to the Raiders, but their success over the past four seasons has been spotty at best.  In the last four seasons, Freeman has averaged 2,967.25 passing yards and 17.5 touchdowns, and Vick has averaged 2,474.5 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.  Both have had really solid seasons within the last four years, but they followed it up with a dismal performance the next year.  Freeman is less injury prone than Vick, but the Raiders would be taking a chance with either player.  Still, McKenzie likes to get players on the cheap in order to breed competition, and both these players would do just that.

Without an actual base offensive scheme in place, it’s hard to guess what direction the team is heading.  Are the Raiders a Run-and-Gun offense, a West Coast Style offense, or some other modified version of the two?  It’s extremely hard to say.  Until this team of ours develops an identity behind a franchise quarterback, it’s anybody’s best guess.

My best guess would be to grab Sanchez while they can, draft QB Derek Carr (Fresno St.), QB Blake Bortles (UCF), or QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) after the first round, and then build the offense around the quarterback who offers the most for the team.  It’s just plain common sense.  Obviously a decision will have to be made about Pryor and McGloin, but that can be dealt with during training camp.  In the end, give the Raiders the best chance to win with the weapons that truly make sense and stick with it.

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Tags: Josh Freeman Mark Sanchez Matt Schaub Michael Vick Oakland Raiders

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