Quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel are now joining him at Kansas City.
The Chiefs acquired Cassel and Vrabel from New England on Saturday in a trade, according to FOXSports.com. The trade compensation was not initally immediately known but at least a second-round draft pick is involved.
The agreement is contingent on both players reporting and passing their physicals.
If Cassel is a success in Kansas City, is this deal a steal for the Chiefs?
According to NFL.com, the Kansas City Chiefs acquired quarterback Matt Cassell and linebacker Mike Vrabel from the New England Patriots on Saturday in exchange for a second-round pick (34th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft.
At first This sounded like a gift to me. When I first heard this news my response was: Wow! Unbelievable!
Chiefs' fans should be pinching themselves to see if this theft is for real. Patriots fans may question their organization for only accepting asecond round pick when perhaps two picks, including one first round pick, should have been logically worked out.
Then again, as I reflect upon this trade several hours later, maybe not.
Vrabel is aging at 33 years old, but he has been a vital part of three Super Bowl winning teams. He has three quality season left. Vrabel will provide instant leadership for a team that is loaded with young players.
Matt Cassel, so it seems, is forever young, without the wear and tear of being a college or NFL starter until 2008 (for 15 games).
Cassel, a seventh-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2005, was a career backup until a breakout season in 2008 in relief of the injured Tom Brady. Cassel saw the first significant action of his career, taking over as the starter for Brady in Week 2 and starting 15 games, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
Two quality players, including a QB given the franchise tag (guaranteeing him $14.65 million next season) traded for a mere second round draft pick? On the surface, the Chiefs seem to have a clear edge, if not a steal.
But what are New England's reasons agreeing to just a second round pick? Is it about clearing salary cap space? Is it a "thank you" gift for Pioli? Is it both?
Should we wish a merry Christmas to the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans? That will depend upon Cassel's performance in 2009.
However, from the Patriots point of view, they cleared a lot of salary cap space. Although they have announced nothing publicly, Tom Brady is expected to be healthy and start in 2009. Vrabel at age 33 is near the point of one's NFL career in which performance begins to gradually decline.
Brady’s recovery from torn ligaments in his left knee has been shrouded in secrecy, partly because of the Patriots’ policy on injuries. But Brady has also talked little about his multiple operations, which were necessitated by a staph infection after the first procedure, which was performed in California.
There was speculation that the infection might have set back his rehabilitation schedule. But Saturday’s trade signaled that the Patriots were comfortable with Brady’s progress.
Brady, who married the model Gisele Bündchen on Thursday, is expected to return in time for the start of training camp this summer, although the Patriots have not ruled out his participation in a minicamp before then. The Patriots could still seek an experienced backup quarterback.
For now, Brady’s backup is the second-year pro Kevin O’Connell.
Back to the trade.
New England drafted Cassel in the sixth round, if I am not mistakened. They end up with a second round pick. That's not a bad trade-off.
While I and perhaps some Patriots fans feel New England could have demanded a stronger offer from Kansas City, or from another team such as Tampa Bay, this deal is not as lopsided in the Chiefs' favor as I initally thought.
However, Chiefs' fans should be joyful and hopeful and Patriots fans ought to be confident about their team and their franchise's decisions, since they have a most successful track record.
Therefore, my conclusion is that the deal benefits both sides, especially the Chiefs. They are a young, rebuilding team that needed a quarterback, although the unheralded Tyler Thigpen was surprisingly effective as a starter last year. Now they have a starting quarterback and a veteran starting linebacker, and they retained the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft.
The Patriots, who were among the teams with the least amount of cap space entering free agency, freed themselves of a $14.65 million commitment, the amount they would have had to pay for a year after putting the franchise tag on Cassel. That commitment made keeping both Brady and Cassel on the roster untenable, even though Cassel had indicated that he would be satisfied with returning as Brady’s backup.
The Patriots now have three picks in the second round of April’s draft, but the low price Kansas City paid in the deal indicated that Belichick might have given Scott Pioli, the new Chiefs general manager and a former Patriots executive, a discount.
The Chiefs’ acquisition of Cassel also reshaped the top of the draft, because they are now out of the market for one of the top quarterbacks: Georgia’s Matthew Stafford or Southern California’s Mark Sanchez.
Kansas City may be in position to grab Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.
Quote of the Day:
No mind is thoroughly well-organized that is deficient in a sense of humor.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge