Kansas City Chiefs: QBs Team Should Bring in to Replace Matt Cassel in 2013
Cassel will either do enough to convince everyone in and around the organization that he is capable of ending the Chiefs' playoff-victory drought (0-7 over an 18-year span) or he will continue to prove that the questions surrounding his ability to lead the team are legit, resulting in general manager Scott Pioli needing to seriously invest resources into finding an immediate replacement.
In case the latter establishes itself as the truth, here are some different routes the Chiefs should consider to replace Cassel in 2013.
Keep It In-House with Ricky Stanzi
Selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft, Ricky Stanzi is expected to battle with free-agent signee Brady Quinn to be the primary option behind Matt Cassel at quarterback in 2012. However, if general manager Scott Pioli's personal thoughts on Stanzi are any indication, the second-year signal-caller could have the edge going forward.
"We drafted a quarterback last year who I truly believe has good ability and has the potential to start in this league," Pioli said of Stanzi (h/t Josh Looney, KCChiefs.com).
Fans might see Stanzi's lack of playing time last season—with Tyler Palko having started four consecutive games after Cassel went down with a season-ending injury to his throwing hand—as a sign that he isn't a capable NFL quarterback. But that decision was made by former head coach Todd Haley, possibly playing a part in his eventual dismissal from his post.
With a full offseason to work out, Stanzi should receive plenty of opportunities to showcase his value to the Chiefs and their fans. And if Cassel plays his way out of Kansas City, Stanzi will be first in line to take his job.
Finally Invest a High Draft Pick on a Quarterback
Since drafting Penn State's Todd Blackledge with the seventh overall pick in 1983, the Kansas City Chiefs have only taken three quarterbacks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft (Mike Elkins, second round in 1989, Matt Blundin, second round in 1992 and Brodie Croyle, third round in 2006).
The Chiefs must begin to rid their fear of using premium draft picks on quarterbacks. It is that hesitation that has held the franchise back over the years.
The Chiefs must prove to the fanbase that they are willing to engage in healthy competition in the quarterback position. At worst, it will create quality depth and prevent a repeat of the Palko-Era in Kansas City.
Some names to watch for in the draft next season are Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Logan Thomas, Tyler Bray and Landry Jones. The chance to draft these players will be determined by draft position. If any of these names are linked to the Chiefs, it will go a long way toward changing the culture of the franchise.
Bring in an Established Veteran Via Trade or Free Agency
The Chiefs swung and missed in their attempt to lure Peyton Manning to Kansas City, who eventually signed with the division rival Denver Broncos. Instead, Matt Cassel was afforded another year to prove his ability to lead the team to the postseason.
If Cassel fails in his mission to end the team's playoff-victory drought in 2012, the team may see that as a sign to act quickly in bringing in someone that is ready to immediately reverse their postseason fortunes as opposed to starting over with a young quarterback (Ricky Stanzi or through the draft).
Ask a majority of fans and they say that the quarterback position is holding this team back. The easiest fix would be to acquire an established veteran via trade or through free agency (Brady Quinn probably isn't the answer).
Everyone in and around the organization was ecstatic when Scott Pioli's first big play upon being hired as general manager for the Chiefs was trading for Cassel. Whether or not that move pans out pales in comparison to the fact Pioli is willing to stick his neck out regardless of the result.
If the Chiefs choose to go this route again, some names that could produce interest are Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Jason Campbell, Matt Moore and Stephen McGee. For various reasons, these quarterbacks could be available next offseason.
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