It was only a matter of time before the Kansas City Chiefs decided to make this move.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli learned a thing or two from the "Tuna" Bill Parcells about running a football team. Pioli is currently married to Parcells' daughter. The first step is to bring some of the guys that were on your previous football team. Pioli did just that yesterday as he could have made the "steal" of the off-season.
The Kansas City Chiefs acquired Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel from the Patriots for a second-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization decided it was best to give Pioli a "Thank You" gift for the years of service with the team. So far, so good right? Well, not exactly.
This trade sends a message to Tyler Thigpen that he was a "fluke" last season and he will not be the guy carrying the Chiefs this season. Instead, Matt Cassel will be the signal caller and continue his quest of leading a football team.
The trade also sends a message to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey that the "pistol" and "wildcat" formations no longer exist. If you don't like it, we can get somebody else for the job.
Cassel led the Patriots to a 11-5 record last season replacing Tom Brady, who went out with a Torn ACL in Week One against the Chiefs. Cassel completed 63% of his passes for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Some critics put the knock on his stats because he did not perform well against the AFC playoff teams in losing efforts (MIA, SD, IND, and PIT).
His combined stats against the AFC playoff teams were: 60% comp, 707 yards, one touchdown, and five interceptions. Another way the critics put the knock on him is that he had a great receiving core to throw the ball to (Moss, Welker, Gaffney, and Watson). In Kansas City, he will have some targets such as Dwayne Bowe, and Tony Gonzalez.
Under the circumstances of last season, the Chiefs upgraded at the quarterback position. Cassel was the backup to two former Heisman winners in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC before he came one in New England behind former NFL MVP Tom Brady. That has to mean something, right?
Mike Vrabel brings leadership to the Chiefs defense. He still has the ability to make some plays, but is he past his prime? His tackles have decreased from 108 in 2005 to 62 last season. His sacks have fluctuated as well even though he had 12.5 in 2007. The Chiefs have been known for bringing in guys that are playing past their prime.
Ty Law and Patrick Surtain did not exactly work in Kansas City when they left their respective teams (New England and Miami) that they have played for most of their career. The return of Donnie Edwards only lasted for one year as he was on the injury report for most of the season while his production was non-existent.
Even if Vrabel will not be the same player he once was in New England, he can help bring the best out of Derrick Johnson and take him to the next step as being one of the top middle linebackers in the NFL.
If the Chiefs draft Aaron Curry, he can groom him into becoming one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. He solidifies the Chiefs linebacker core as the Chiefs defense looks forward to getting more sacks and being more productive on third downs this season.
However, there are some concerns about this trade heading into this season. Matt Cassel may have a down year, which brings up this question. Is there a possibility that Matt Cassel may have only been a product of the Belichick/McDaniels system in New England?
Will Mike Vrabel continue to be an impact play-making linebacker?
All we know is that the Chiefs have took a huge step forward in this rebuilding process to become a better team in 2009. The Chiefs still have some holes to fill, but they will be addressed as the off-season progresses. Get your season tickets ready Chiefs fans!