The New England Patriots traded Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs. Everyone knew the Patriots would eventually be trading Matt Cassel but the trade of Mike Vrabel was a bit of a shock. Personally I am rather disappointed that the Patriots didn’t get me more than a 2nd round draft pick from the Chiefs. In fact, I am right down flummoxed by it. It seems like Cassel would be worth much more than a 2nd round pick when you still have teams out there desperate for a quarterback in a free agent market that is extremely thin. But at least we got something after using the franchise tag on Cassel.
Based on reports from Adam Schefter on NFL.com it sounds like there was quite a bit of interest and some possible three way trades in the works with moves putting Cassel in Denver and Cutler in either Tampa Bay or Detroit, both in desperate need of quarterbacks. What was a surprise to me was the Minnesota Vikings didn’t take a serious run at Matt Cassel. He doesn’t fit in as well with their offensive scheme as he does in Kansas City, but he has a far better shot of being successful in Minnesota than a Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson.
The move for Matt Cassel and the Kansas City Chiefs make perfect sense and Kansas City is a great landing spot for Matt Cassel for several reasons.
First, he performs better in the shotgun. New head coach and former Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley has an offensive scheme that fits Cassel’s abilities extremely well. He relies much more heavily on the shotgun and the passing game, and I can see Cassel having a very good chance to be successful in Kansas City.
Secondly, he has an excellent young receiver in Dwayne Bowe to throw to. Bowe is one of the best receivers in the NFL but has been overshadowed by the poor record of the Kansas City Chiefs the pat few years. He also has the Hall of Fame bound tight end Tony Gonzalez to throw to. While Gonzalez wanted to be traded last year, it looks like he will stay in Kansas City. The signing of Matt Cassel should make him happier. And while I think Larry Johnson will likely be cut or traded, if the Chiefs can put together some serviceable running backs to keep defenses honest, the offense has a chance to make significant improvements next year.
The trade of Mike Vrabel was a shock to me. Vrabel has been a team leader and a mainstay on a defense that won three Super Bowls. It always hurts to see players you admire that have been with the team for so long get traded or cut. But that is the NFL in the era of free agency. I will miss Vrabel and root for him to do well, unless he plays the Patriots.
The trade of Vrabel signals that the Patriots are finally going in the direction of getting younger and faster on defense. The past few years Patriots fans have worried a great deal about the aging of the defense, especially at the linebacker position. It will be interesting to see what other off-season moves the Patriots make.
Currently the most high profile signings for the Patriots are Fred Taylor from Jacksonville and Chris Baker from the Jets. It will be interesting to see what else they will do this offseason.