You always have to read the signs, and sometimes the signs can be subtle.
I've said before that one very underplayed way to gauge where a player stands with a franchise is the pricing of his jerseys in the team store. I've shared the story about going to Cowboys Stadium during the 2011 lockout and seeing Marion Barber's jersey priced at 75 percent off.
Needless to say, as soon as the lockout ended, Marion Barber was a former Dallas Cowboy. Read the signs!
So let's take a look at the Texans apparel website and see what the signs may be telling us, shall we?
Visit the "Clearance" items on the Texans shopping website and you will notice two players whose jerseys are on sale for the standard 40 percent discount. They are Ed Reed, who's been a New York Jet since November, and Matt Schaub.
Safe to say that when your Texans jerseys are being dropped into the same sentence (and same page on an apparel website) as Ed Reed's, that doesn't bode well for your long-term prospects as a Houston Texan.
And yet, with every passing day, it seems like fans around the league, teams around the league and perhaps Schaub's own teammates forget how utterly historically horrific he was in 2013. If you're compiling a list of reasons the Texans' season went off the rails this past year, I think it starts with Schaub.
Still, that didn't stop Andre Johnson (who is either the nicest or most oblivious teammate on the face of the earth) from giving this update on where he thinks the Schaub Situation stands:
"I talked to him, I think it was two weeks ago. I get the feeling that he feels like he's going to be here," Andre Johnson said via CSN Houston.
"No matter what I think, he's going to get a chance to right it. I think he'll get a chance to go out and show people he can go out and play at a high level like he has before, if it's here or somewhere else," Johnson continued via CSN Houston. "I've always said if Matt's not here, he's going to be a starter somewhere else, so I think no matter what happens, he's going to have a chance to show people he can be a top quarterback in this league."
Johnson also told CSN that as long as Schaub remains a Texan, he plans on working out with him this off-season.
"As long as Matt is my teammate, me and Matt are going to be working together," Johnson said. "Hopefully he's still here. That's out of my control, but we'll see what happens."
To be very clear, there is absolutely no way Schaub can come back to Houston as the starting quarterback, and I think there is an infinitesimally small way that he can come back as a backup quarterback. He obviously can't return as a backup at a $10 million base salary and a $14.5 million cap figure. Cutting Schaub would mean a $10.5 million cap hit anyway (perhaps all in 2014, or spread out over two seasons if he got cut on or after June 1), so if you look at his base salary and.....
JEEZ, WHAT AM I SAYING?!? NO! NO! NO! MATT SCHAUB CANNOT BE BACK IN 2014, OKAY?!?! Andre Johnson, you and the general apathy that has set in over cutting Schaub will not lull me into doing the math on keeping him as a backup. He must go!
And oh, by the way, apparently there are a handful of cities who don't get DirecTV or the Sunday Ticket because according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, there are a few cities who would entertain the idea of Matt Schaub as their starting quarterback in 2014:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2014
If the Texans were to ask Schaub to take a pay cut (which they would have to do on principle alone), then he can refuse, and if he refuses he will get cut, and apparently at that point there could be a mini bidding war for Matt Schaub.
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A mini bidding war for Matt "Set Your Watch to My Pick Sixness, Bitches!" Schaub.
Of the three teams mentioned above (Browns, Raiders, Jets), the Browns seem to make the most sense with former Texans OC Kyle Shanahan on board as the offensive coordinator there. The Raiders would easily be the most entertaining, since the league could probably create a 30-minute show for the NFL Network that would run the week after Raiders home games where we watch Schaub try to make it to his car without getting murdered.
As for the Jets, signing Schaub would mean they signed both guys whose jerseys are on "Clearance" on the Texans' website. It seems there's some symmetry in all that.