The worst-kept secret in Houston was officially announced today; Gary Kubiak will be sticking around for awhile longer. The news hit twitter about an hour ago that team owner Bob McNair had extended his head coach until the end of the 2014 season.
I say it wasn’t a secret because hardly any coach reaches “lame duck” status in the NFL anymore. But what is interesting to me is that the story is he was offered a four year extension, but opted only to take three. Whereas general manager Rick Smith took the full four year offer.
For players, you can understand when they take less years on their offer, because it gets them back to signing bonus money faster for their next deal. But for coaches, you prefer that job security. For Gary Kubiak to tell Bob McNair, who has been incredibly loyal to him to a fault, that he’ll take the smaller offer is quite curious.
There are already the crazy conspiracy theories on local radio saying things like Kubiak wants to go back to Denver or whatever and that’s a load of bunk. In my opinion, and it’s just that because we haven’t received any dollar figures in this extension yet, is that Gary wasn’t bonkers for the money. But for a coach still possessing an overall losing record in the NFL, it wasn’t like he had much bargaining power.
Therefore, to get in that top ten coaching bracket in terms of paycheck, well he has to get better results on the field. Hence, what I’m calling “Gary’s Gamble.”
Houston certainly appeared to turn the corner as a franchise last season. They made competent choices in free agency, hired an actual proven defensive coordinator, drafted incredibly well and made the playoffs for the first time and pushed a Baltimore team on the road while facing horrible breaks in the injury department. No doubt, the needle is pointing up for the future of this franchise.
So if Houston is about to be as good as Gary Kubiak thinks it is and the Texans are in the hunt for a Super Bowl over the next three years, this gamble makes a ton of sense by him. Because if the team can pull off that type of showing routinely, or maybe even win a championship, well Kubiak is going to be, as my boy Danny from Battle Red Blog puts it, laughing maniacally in a pile of Bob McNair’s money in 2014.
But what if it backfires, you ask? Well then he would get fired before his contract was up anyways. So no harm, no foul.
The bigger question of concern for Texans fans, and Gary, is what happens with defensive coordinator, and pretty much co-coach, Wade Phillips? He only has two years left on his deal and it was glaringly obvious that his influence on the 2011 Texans had quite an impact. If Houston has another improvement over the defensive renaissance he ushered in last year, teams are going to be calling. Houston needs to keep this duo together, or Bob McNair may let Kubiak do his own hiring again. And we all remember what the Frank Bush era was like.
If I’m Gary, I’m campaigning for that extra year I turned down to go to ensuring Wade Phillips stays for the long run.