This is certainly a topic where opinions are present on each side, and I fall strongly on one side of it. The New England Patriots should trade Matt Cassel before the 2009 NFL Draft.
There have been writers and talk show callers who are demanding that New England hold on to Cassel as an insurance policy (an expensive one for sure), but I find that idea to be outlandish.
These writers and callers cite the need to have a backup plan in place, should Tom Brady not be at full health to start the 2009 season.
Let's consider what Peyton Manning did in 2008; sure, he was not the same Peyton Manning for the first half of the season. In the end, did that matter? I'd like to believe it did not.
Peyton caught fire and returned to form, allowing the team to win out and make the playoffs. They faced a tough and equally hot San Diego team in the opening round, but surely that loss had little to do with Peyton's knee.
Tom Brady will be healthy in 2009, and he will be the starting quarterback of the Patriots. With that established, Matt Cassel's value is currently at its peak. That value conceivably could not go any higher, so the Patriots should capitalize on it while they can.
Lastly, the Patriots have an overwhelming number of players with expiring contracts at the close of the 2009 season. If you wait to trade Cassel, then you will handicap yourself from negotiating those contracts in advance.
Consider this as my prediction as well as my opinion: Matt Cassel will not be wearing a New England Patriots' uniform when camp starts this summer.