Conspiracy Theory 101: Did Patriots Release Kevin O'Connell as Gift to Broncos?

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IAugust 31, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 20:  Kevin O'Connell #5 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during their preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 20, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

On Aug. 30, the New England Patriots released former third-round pick, Kevin O'Connell, who played quarterback at San Diego State.

It seems strange that the Patriots would do so after reports that the Raiders had attempted to acquire O'Connell in a trade for All-Pro Derrick Burgess.

Before I continue, "CT 101" stands for "Conspiracy Theory 101," and is meant to be facetious.  Perhaps there is some unprovable truth to what I will ponder, or perhaps not.

In the course of the 2009 NFL offseason though, we have seen the meteoric ascension of Josh McDaniels from New England assistant to head coach to replace Super Bowl winning coach, Mike Shanahan.

Much of that ascension resulted from the 2008 success of QB Matt Cassel, whom replaced an injured Tom Brady, and led the Patriots to a record of 11-5, after many had thought that Brady's injury would prevent the Patriots from viability.

Once Josh McDaniels became coach of the Broncos, he attempted to acquire Matt Cassel by trade.  That attempt failed and Cassel, along with Pro Bowler Mike Vrabel, went to Kansas City, the team of former Patriots executive Scott Pioli in exchange for a second-round pick.

Many wondered if the low-price for Cassel and Vrabel had been a gift from Patriots coach Bill Belichik to Pioli.

The attempt by McDaniels to acquire Cassel would only irk incumbent All-Pro quarterback, Jay Cutler, to the point of no return.  The Broncos would ultimately trade Cutler to Chicago in exchange for QB Kyle Orton and draft picks.

And the derision has ensued.

Cutler would insult Bronco fans, while McDaniels has not earned the trust of Denver fans.  Now, the Broncos have been humiliated by Cutler's new team, the Bears, in a preseason game that has no bearing on the regular season, only on the pride of Denver fans.

Everyone has known that Denver has a shaky quarterback situation, and while some Denver fans have been willing to defend Kyle Orton, the reality is that Denver will likely need another quarterback down the road.

And who better than Kevin O'Connell, the quarterback whom McDaniels had groomed since 2008?

The Broncos had already acquired New England backups, Russ Hochstein and Le Kevin Smith, in an exchange for low draft picks.  It seems as if the release of O'Connell will result in a "quid pro quo" of Buy Two, Get One Free.

When it comes to the craft of an organization, it is foolish to believe in coincidences without verification. You cannot assume that the "coincidence" is just a "coincidence" without investigation or questions.

As a fan of the Raiders and although I question popular perceptions, I certainly don't root for the Patriots, but I can understand and occasionally admire the fact that they understand the economics of creating an NFL roster, as Billy Beane does in baseball.

The Patriots understand how to turn one team's "trash" into their "treasure."

And it seems to me that O'Connell's release was a "coincidental" favor to the beleaguered McDaniels.