I first saw mention of this on PFT last night; it led me to this Rich Cimini article on ESPN. I had no idea that the Jets tried to trade for Matt Schaub in 2006 before the Texans successfully acquired him back in 2007. Really interesting stuff here:
In 2006, the Jets were hot for Schaub, a promising young backup with the Atlanta Falcons. With Chad Pennington coming off his second shoulder operation, the Jets' new regime at the time -- general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini -- wanted a long-term solution at quarterback.
Little-known fact: They targeted Schaub, offering defensive end John Abraham to the Falcons in a straight-up deal, [former Jets coach Eric] Mangini revealed.
"We tried like hell to get him," Mangini said recently in a phone interview.
Schaub was playing behind Michael Vick and had started only two games in two seasons, but his potential intrigued the Jets. At the time, it seemed like a lopsided proposal. Not many teams would consider dealing a proven pass-rusher in his prime, but the Jets didn't want to commit to Abraham, who had the franchise tag, had some off-the-field issues and was seeking a monster contract.
The negotiations turned contentious. Eventually, the Jets traded Abraham to the Falcons for the 29th pick in the draft, which Atlanta acquired from the Denver Broncos. The Jets used the pick to draft Nick Mangold after trying unsuccessfully to deal it to the San Diego Chargers for running back Michael Turner -- another little-known fact.
Why was Mangini so intrigued by Schaub? Because he saw what Schaub could do when Schaub started one of the only two games he'd start for the Falcons--against the Patriots, where Mangini was defensive coordinator.
Mangini became smitten with Schaub in 2005, when Mangini was the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator. They faced the Vick-less Falcons, and he called blitz after blitz, expecting to rattle the young quarterback. But Schaub lit up Mangini's defense, passing for 298 yards and three touchdowns, nearly pulling off the upset.
After becoming the Jets' coach in 2006, Mangini did his homework on Schaub, receiving a glowing endorsement from a former coaching colleague, Al Groh, who coached the quarterback at Virginia. Mangini was convinced Schaub was the real deal, but, as he said: "As strong as our conviction was, theirs was stronger."
The Falcons, thinking Super Bowl, wanted to keep Schaub as Vick insurance. In essence, they chose him over their first-round pick.
A year later, the Falcons finally decided to cash in their bargaining chip, sending Schaub to the Texans for two second-round picks. Since then, he has blossomed into a top quarterback. He's 36-32, including eight straight wins, with a 94.6 passer rating in five-plus seasons.
Just as it's fascinating to play out the what-if scenarios on the Jets' side, it's equally, if not more, fascinating to do it from the Texans' perspective. If the Jets had acquired Schaub in 2006, the Texans necessarily wouldn't have traded for him in 2007. While the David Carr ship had sailed by that point (and thus we don't have to torture ourselves with any thoughts of additional Zoolander Time in Houston), what would the Texans have done to address their quarterback situation? Would Sage Rosenfels have gotten a chance to start in Houston after all? Would the Texans have drafted a QB in '07 (e.g., Kevin Kolb)? Would they have chased another veteran option to fill the hole at QB?
We don't know, and thank the deity of your choice that we never have to find out. Matt Schaub's a Texan, and it's far too painful to imagine what this team would be like without him.