Earlier today we thoroughly outlined why Houston Texans GM Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak deserve the security of the long-term contracts they would reportedly be receiving, a subject that in hindsight probably didn’t need thorough outlining. It’s June, leave me alone.
During an afternoon press conference team owner Bob McNair confirmed those extensions, but there was something a little odd about Kubiak’s new deal. Both Smith and Kubiak were set to enter the final year of their contracts, and while Smith received a four-year extension to keep him employed by the Texans until 2016, Kubiak only went for two years and restructured the last year remaining in his current deal, meaning in effect it’s a three-year contract that will expire in 2014.
Coaches usually crave security, because they’re aware of their fleeting existence in an occupation that inherently lacks security. Unless they become one of the truly elite football minds, the odds of retiring from the same team that hired you are quite slim. So they all know that eventually pink papers are coming after a solemn trip to the boss’ office, and it’s always a matter of if, not when.
That partly fuels the motivation to seek a longer contract, because when the firing axe comes down a lengthier deal can mean a more lucrative buyout, depending on how many years are remaining. The other factor is simple security, and the disturbances of the looming lame duck. Any team that intends to keep its current head coach around doesn’t allow him to enter the final year of his contract without an extension. Forcing a coach to hammer through a lame duck season tells him that the front office has little confidence in his ability, and it becomes difficult for him to control a locker room when players know that in a matter of months their head authority figure and commander will be gone.
That’s why it’s odd that when McNair approached Kubiak and wanted to give him a four-year term, he declined, and added only two more years to his current slated Houston tenure.
“Gary has assured me that with the level of success he’s going to have, he’s going to be worth a lot more money in three years instead of four,” McNair told The Associated Press.
Ahhh, now the muddied waters are getting just a little clearer. Kubiak is confident a 10-6 team that won the AFC South last year and started to rise but then sputtered due to injuries will resume its ascent…permanently. When that happens, he knows he’ll be able to cash in even more, and do it that much sooner.
Isn’t that right, Gary?
“I don’t know. I’ve always done my own stuff from a contract standpoint, so that’s just something I felt comfortable with, and when Bob and I sat down, it didn’t take any time at all.”
My head hurts.
Kubiak must be a wicked awesome poker player. I’m still sticking with my mildly educated guess that he wants to raise his value in the short term before committing long term.
Inviting a lame duck season sooner is a risky play, especially since there’s an injury-prone and aging vital asset on Houston’s offense (Johnson, Andre). But hey, chase that dream, Gary. It’s the American way, I guess.