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Tribal Warfare
03-01-2009, 10:20 AM
Bottom of the Bird Cage – Matt Cassel Edition 3/1 (http://www.bobgretz.com/chiefs-football/bottom-of-the-bird-cage-%E2%80%93-matt-cassel-edition-31.html)
March 1, 2009 - Bob Gretz |

Welcome to March 1, day No. 60 of the year, as we tip our hat to former Chiefs 60s like Tarkio’s Al Reynolds, George Daney and Donald “Snacks” Willis.

On March 1, 1967 Nebraska became the 37th member of the United States of America. The town of Lancaster was renamed Lincoln and became the state capital. On March 1, 1932, the son of Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. The toddler was later murdered.

Born on March 1, 1914 was Harry Caray, and the broadcasting world was never the same. On March 1, 1926 Pete Rozelle was born. He would go on to become one of the most influential names in sports history as Commissioner of the NFL.

Today, we have a theme, and that’s the reaction in New England to the trade that sent QB Matt Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round draft choice. Enjoy.

From Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots fans worship at the altar of Bill Belichick. “In Bill We Trust” is embossed on sweatshirts, jackets, posters, and commemoratives from Super Bowls won in New Orleans, Houston, and Jacksonville. Woe is anyone who questions His Hoodiness. It makes you a traitor, a nitwit, or both. This blind allegiance will be tested in upcoming days, weeks, and months, because Belichick has swapped rising-star quarterback Matt Cassel and popular veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 34th pick in this year’s NFL draft.

It’s a deal that’s got everything - history, emotion, high finance, backroom dealing, and the certainty of infinite speculation and second-guessing. The trade is a clear sign that the Patriots believe Tom Brady will be his old self at the start of the 2009 season. This is good news. We have lived in an information vacuum concerning all things Brady since the cover boy QB went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the first game of the 2008 campaign (against the Chiefs, oddly enough). There were multiple reports of post-surgery infection and slow recovery, and neither Brady nor the Patriots offered much in the way of clarification.


Trading Cassel puts it to rest. The Patriots and Brady obviously think he can pick up where he left off when he was the league’s Most Valuable Player, throwing 50 touchdown passes, in 2007. Belichick simply would not trade Cassel if he had any doubts about Brady’s readiness for September.
MORE (http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2009/03/01/cassel_trade_is_a_loud_statement/)

From Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges:
Scott Pioli soon may learn there is no such thing as friends in the NFL, especially when they used to employ you as their gofer.

Pioli yesterday closed out what he believes was a blockbuster deal with the Patriots that landed him his franchise quarterback (literally, in this case), Matt Cassel, and Mike Vrabel, a linebacker who can settle Kansas City’s troubled defense.

And perhaps he did. But if the many in these parts who believe Bill Belichick is Einstein in a hoodie are correct, what Pioli may have gotten instead is Scott Mitchell the sequel and an expensive linebacker on the wrong end of the football timeline … “I look at Cassel and I think Scott Mitchell,” one longtime NFC personnel man said yesterday. “That’s who I see.” Pioli better hope not, because that $5 million-a-year seat he’s occupying could become vacant in a hurry if Cassel turns into Mitchell and Vrabel plays like Willie McGinest did in Cleveland.

Like Vrabel, McGinest was a 12-year veteran when he was let go by the Pats. He was two years removed from the second-best year of his career, a 9-sack season, but he’d slipped to six sacks in 2005 and that slide continued with the Browns, where he had four, three and last season only one sack.

MORE (http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view/2009_03_01_Bill_Belichick_doesn_t_deliver_friendly_favor/)

From Providence Journal columnist Jim Donaldson: Now we know who was the brains of the outfit. Scott Pioli just outsmarted, outmaneuvered, flat out committed grand larceny on one of his former employers, the Patriots of New England. Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for a two?

Has he got pictures of Bill Belichick dressed up as a St. Louis Ram and taking part in practice the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in the Louisiana Superdome? Does he have financial info Robert Kraft wouldn’t want the IRS to know? He has to have some leverage nobody knows about. Otherwise, why would the Patriots let Cassel go for a two, and then throw in Vrabel to sweeten the deal?

Actually, let’s forget Vrabel. As much as Patriots fans love the guy, he’s 33 years old and his best years clearly are behind him. It’s questionable whether he would have brought even a fourth-round pick in a trade.

But Cassel?

MORE (http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/projo_20090228_patriots_donaldson_trade.1211c4d5.html)

These commentaries touch all the bases on the reaction to this trade. There are some people that think Pioli got a gift from his good friend and old boss. There are those that believe Belichick took advantage of his good friend and old employee. There are those that wonder if this says something about Belichick, or Pioli, or Cassel’s future, or Vrabel’s future, or the future of the Patriots.

The only way to properly judge this trade will be using the glasses of hindsight. If Brady has problems with his knee this fall, then it doesn’t look so good for the Pats. If Cassel shows that he’s the next Scott Mitchell, it’s not too good for the Chiefs.

Right now based on the visible evidence, both teams got something out of the deal. What comes next will decide if it was good or bad.

yeti
03-01-2009, 10:25 AM
On March 1, 1967 Nebraska became the 37th member of the United States of America

oops

Extra Point
03-01-2009, 10:36 AM
I can hear Scott Mitchell humming "If I only had a Line," a la the Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Lion. I hope that tune isn't hummed by Cassel this season.

KCDC
03-01-2009, 12:51 PM
The challenge is that many of us look backwards to 2007 and 2008 stats to justify value. It is certainly important, of course, but it is their unknown value in 2009 that matters.

First, I think that Detroit (having been burned by a Scott Mitchell in the past) and TB were leery of taking a chance on Cassel. They hoped that new Denver coach McDaniel would like Cassel and might part with Cutler if he got Cassel in return. Denver would want something more than Cassel for Cutler, so Detroit and TB could not afford to offer much for Cassel. Detroit might have offered a 3rd and TB a 2nd rounder. It didn't matter because Denver balked at the idea. With Detroit and TB not primarily interested in Cassel, it made his value drop to something like a second or third rounder. We benefited from that.

As for Vrabel, he had sentimental value for NE, but BB is not a sentimental guy. At his salary, he might have been carried another year, but it would have been his swan song. Vrabel, however, has some value to a team that has young LBs that need leadership and to learn how to win, so he has real value to the Chiefs, even if he is only operating at 90%.

BB had to have been shopping Cassel ever since they tagged him, and he was under pressure because the free agency period had begun and he could only be a spectator as he watched division rivals strengthen themselves with FAs.

So, time was on our side for a change. Other bidders were tentative. That gave Pioli a chance to swing the deal, knowing BB was not getting anything better. So, I think it will turn out good for us. I'm quite excited about it, and hope Cassel is not another Mitchell. Thigpen is in the wings as well. So, there is really every reason for optimism. Considering who we might have picked with the 2nd rounder, the impact of this trade is far greater. So, here's to new hope for 2009.