Former Pro Bowl QB Matt Schaub To Visit Ravens
The market has suddenly heated up for former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Schaub, and it looks like the Ravens are going to get the first crack at him.
Schaub is expected to sign with a team this week, and the Ravens, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons are all interested, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson reported that the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans have also expressed interest.
Baltimore looks to be Schaub's first stop, as he is scheduled to visit with the Ravens early this week, reports Wilson.
The Ravens' interest isn't surprising because they lost their backup quarterback of the last four years when Tyrod Taylor signed with the Buffalo Bills earlier this month. Sixth-round pick Keith Wenning is heading into his second year and the Ravens may want somebody with more experience behind starter Joe Flacco.
With 12 years in the league, including two Pro Bowl appearances as a Houston Texan in 2009 and 2012, Schaub would certainly qualify as somebody with experience.
But his production started to decline in 2013 with an ankle injury that ultimately resulted in losing his starting job. The Texans shipped him to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick last year, and the expectation was that he would start in Oakland. He struggled in the preseason and lost the role to rookie Derek Carr. Schaub was released on March 16.
"So why would the Ravens be interested in him?" asked ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The Ravens want an experienced but inexpensive quarterback who is willing to accept one of the least glamorous backup roles in football. It's a job that won't pay much given the Ravens' limited salary cap space.
"The list of quarterbacks who would be lining up for this type of a job is not going to be a long one. Some quarterbacks will want more money, and others will seek a better chance of playing."
That's why the Ravens would want Schaub, but will Schaub want the Ravens?
"Whether Schaub joins the Ravens or not likely depends on money, and what he views as the best fit," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
If Schaub still views himself as a starter, the Jets would give him the best opportunity with neither Geno Smith nor Ryan Fitzpatrick proving they're the answer. But New York Daily News' Manish Mehta tweeted its "fair to say that the earliest the Jets will add another QB of consequence will be the draft."
Schaub wouldn't be the starter in Atlanta, Baltimore or Dallas, so the size of the contract could be the tiebreaker.
He may want to re-join the Falcons, who originally drafted him in 2004, and reunite with Atlanta Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who was Schaub's quarterbacks coach in 2007 and his offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009. In Baltimore, he would know the offensive system that Gary Kubiak implemented last season.
"Flacco has never missed a start in seven NFL seasons, but the Ravens would be taking a chance if they decided not to sign a veteran backup," wrote Brown. "Schaub is prone to mistakes, throwing almost as many interceptions (28) as touchdowns passes (32) over the past three seasons. Having him as a starter is dangerous. But as a backup quarterback, the Ravens could do worse."
The other top free-agent quarterbacks remaining on the market include Jason Campbell, Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Michael Vick.
League Announced Punishments For Browns, Falcons
The league announced their punishments to the Atlanta Falcons for pumping in artificial crowd noise during games and the Cleveland Browns for their general manager texting during games.
The Browns were fined $250,000 and General Manager Ray Farmer was suspended four games for his violation of the NFL's electronic device policy. The team will not lose a draft pick. Farmer admitted at the NFL Scouting Combine that he texted team personnel on the sideline during games last season.
"We accept the league's ruling," Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement released through the team. "Ray made a mistake and takes full responsibility for his role in violating the policy. It is critical that we make better decisions. Ray has tremendous integrity and I know has great remorse for what occurred. We are all committed to learning from this and making the Browns a stronger and better organization."
The Falcons will be fined $350,000 and will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. President Rich McKay will also be suspended for at least three months from the Competition Committee, beginning April 1.
The NFL discovered that former Falcons Director of Event Marketing Roddy White was directly responsible for the violation, and McKay was unaware of the violations. But because McKay was the senior club executive overseeing game operations, the league felt he still bears responsibility.
"What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly."
Could Miller Or Gresham Be Next Daniels?
It's clear the Ravens need to do something at tight end, but they appear to be in "limbo," says Hensley.
You know the story. Owen Daniels signed with Denver, Dennis Pitta can't be relied upon with a hip injury, and Phillip Supernaw and Crockett Gilmore have one NFL start between them. Crockett is a self-proclaimed blocking tight end.
And the problem with bringing in a veteran is that the top two available – Jermaine Gresham and Zach Miller – are in the same boat as Pitta, at least in terms of not knowing if or when they will get on the field in 2015. But if the Ravens signed one of the two, and things went their way, maybe Miller or Gresham could be the next Daniels, who was an injury risk last year after breaking his leg in 2013.
"Miller could be this year's version of Daniels, a veteran who comes on a one-year deal after injuries forced him to miss most of the previous season," wrote Hensley. "A cap casualty of the Seattle Seahawks, Miller is four months removed from his second ankle surgery in less than a year. There's a chance he could ready for training camp at the end of July. Miller, 29, caught 33 passes and scored five touchdowns in 2013."
"Gresham, 26, is the top available free-agent tight end, but he had surgery for a herniated disc in his back in the middle of March. This could sideline him until the start of training camp. In five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Gresham averaged 56 catches and nearly five touchdowns per season while going to two Pro Bowls (2011 and 2012). If he is signed after June 1, he wouldn't count against the Ravens' compensatory pick formula."