New England Patriots: Look Out, They're Back!

Ken KooimanContributor IFebruary 9, 2009

Even in a season of adversity, things seem to go right for the Patriots and Belichick. They didn't make the playoffs this year, despite an 11-5 record. They were on a roll and could have gone far, had they got in—maybe even won it all, again.

They would have done this behind the leadership of one—Matt Cassel. To everyone's amazement, Matt played astonishingly well as Tom Brady's replacement after Tom tore up his knee. There was hardly any dropoff in performance.

Cassel was declared a designated franchise player on Feb. 5, 2009. In other words, the Patriots can potentially trade him for a first round draft pick for this year's NFL Draft. Since the quarterbacks in this draft are rather subpar, I could definitely see a team doing this—potentially the Chiefs at No. 3. The Chiefs have already hired New England general manager Scott Pioli.

The health of Brady will determine a great deal. However, the value of Cassel will never be as high as it is right now. The Patriots could use another top draft pick to shore up an aging defense.

Two years ago, the Patriots managed a steal, getting Randy Moss for only a fourth round pick. Now, they could potentially acquire one or two first rounders from Tom Brady getting hurt. Is there no stopping these guys?

11-5 without Brady—unbelievable. Instead of asking if Pittsburgh is a dynasty just because they earned their sixth ring, people should be realizing that the Pats are back—again.