Comparing Tony Romo's New Deal To Matt Schaub's: The QB Contract Conundrum
Quarterback problems. They're like everyday relationships.They take on different flavors and magnitudes, but pretty much every NFL city has them.
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Some are theoretically good problems to have: New England's restructuring Tom Brady's contract to open up more salary cap space, Green Bay's commencing the calculations on what it's going to take to keep Aaron Rodgers locked down for the next six years. Are these really problems? I mean, they're issues to work through, but at the end of the day...well, Brady and Rodgers are your quarterbacks. That's nice.
Some quarterback problems are just that -- problems in the very painful, literal (and many times, self-inflicted) sense: Mark Sanchez's oppressive burden of a contract extension, Carson Palmer's addiction to turnovers, anything involving Blaine Gabbert. These are problems.
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But at least those teams, those with great quarterbacks and those with wretched quarterbacks, have one thing that about half the teams in the league don't -- clarity.
Which brings us to the Texans and the Cowboys.
Like about a dozen other teams in the NFL, the Texans and Cowboys meander through their NFL existence unsure of exactly what they have at quarterback. Or more on point, they quietly smile and outwardly convey that they have the quarterback to take them to the promised land, but inside they realize that they may be in some varying stages of denial.
Their quarterbacks are too good to discard, and not good enough (at least yet, but maybe ever) to win the big game. The perceived "safe play" among NFL owners and GMs is to keep your "Grade B" guy at quarterback and hope he catches "Grade A" level fire in the playoffs or hope that everyone else around him (and I mean, everyone) plays at a "Grade A" level.
And in perceived safety, the Texans and the Cowboys do what winds up ultimately being the most dangerous thing you can do -- paying a slightly better than average quarterback a cap-swallowing contract figure.
They're obviously not alone. The Jets are stuck with Sanchez for another year because of the "dead" money it would cost on their cap to cut him (at least they know he sucks, though), the Cardinals and Bills just got out of cap-crippling relationships with mediocre quarterbacks, and the Raiders are trying to figure out what to do with Palmer.