Matt Cassel's Future Not Guaranteed After Donovan McNabb Trade

Russell FikeCorrespondent IApril 9, 2010

DENVER - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the bench against the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on January 3, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 44-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As fans get amped in the final countdown to the 2010 draft, it’s no stretch to imagine the Kansas City front office looking to the quarterback class of 2011. 

The recent trade of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins has removed the “untouchable” label from so-called “franchise quarterbacks.” 

McNabb gave Philadelphia 11 seasons with five NFC championship appearances and one Super Bowl game.  If that’s a resume that screams the need to trade a team leader away, many starting quarterbacks in the NFL have to question their job security.

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel is no exception.

Brought to Kansas City after an 11-win season with a loaded Patriots team, Cassel landed on an underwhelming Chiefs roster.

With a porous offensive line and a dismal receiving cast, Cassel put up moderate numbers at best.

In Cassel’s defense, it is hard to throw the ball when it takes so little time to go from snap to back on the turf, with a revolving door of tight ends and receivers that led the league in dropped passes. 

Mix in some disgruntled, underachieving, grizzled running back in Larry Johnson for half a season and mediocre numbers are forgivable.

However, with a contract designed around the franchise tag slapped on Cassel prior to the trade that brought him to KC, Cassel is a pricey investment. 

Kansas City’s hand was forced to develop a long-term contract as though Cassel was one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL.  While there’s no clear evidence to insist he isn’t, there isn’t proof that says he is, either.

Yet, despite a plethora of justifications for unimpressive numbers (including win totals), the trade of Donovan McNabb shows that Cassel does not have a free ride.

The Chiefs’ front office won’t look for excuses to topple Cassel’s castle, but if, with a better supporting cast, Cassel struggles again, the team will desire worthy alternatives.

This is not to imply a replacement is needed, but head coach Todd Haley loves competition within his squad, and the Chiefs need someone who can challenge Cassel as a legitimate threat to be an NFL starter.

Whether in the 2010 draft, or looking to 2011, Kansas City will, someday soon, again eye the market for a quarterback.