Some would look at the Matt Cassel/Mike Vrabel trade to the Chiefs and think we got taken. Some would say we should've gotten more for a hot commodity like Matt and a veteran presence like Mike. I would simply say, this is a good thing. I was about to type up a long list of, "Why I'm smarter than everyone else" factoids, but our good friend at the Boston Globe, Mike Reiss, beat me to it (he sort of does this for a living):
There wasn't a large market for Cassel, which was a result of three main factors: 1) Not every team needed him; 2) Economics-wise, not every team could afford him; 3) Compensation-wise, not every team was willing to part with what it would take to acquire him (draft pick).
The Patriots figure to take a hit in opinion polls on this deal, but from this perspective, the main questions to answer are these:
Would the Patriots have been better off letting Cassel walk as an unrestricted free agent, and receiving a 2010 third-round compensatory pick in return? Or is this scenario better, getting a high 2009 second-round pick (No. 34 overall, second in the round), while adding a savvy veteran like Vrabel -- whose contract expires after 2009 and probably wouldn't have been back in 2010 -- to close the deal?
In the end, the feeling here is that the Patriots turned a 2005 seventh-round draft choice -- a player many felt would be cut at the end of training camp (me included) -- into a valuable 2009 second-round pick.
We have 1 first round draft pick at 23, a 2nd rounder at 2, and 2 more 2nd rounders. By my math, that's FOUR picks in the first and second round. I don't think that's too shabby.
It seems the prevailing attitude amongst many is we should have turned the screws and gotten more out of KC for Cassel and Vrabel. Read Mike Reiss' words again. This is very good for a lot of reasons:
- To KC fans, Pioli looks like a genius, and likely is
- Belichick helps a friend rebuild his new team and does it by not hurting the Patriots
- Mike Vrabel, at 34, gets to add leadership to a young team and leave behind a defense moving on to the next generation
- Matt Cassel gets a nice payday in a shrinking market and keeps a starting gig
- Given NE traded away Cassel, Tom Terrific is, most likely ready
Why is it that for a deal to look good to a particular fanbase, their team has to come out so far on top that the other team is left feeling swindled? The sad part of this is that if Belichick absolutely fileted Pioli, rival fanbases would continue to label him Darth Vader in a hoodie. Instead, he deals with honesty and integrity, helping out both Josh McDaniels and Scott Pioli in the process while not negatively impacting Denver, New England, or Kansas City, and many think he got screwed? What happened to everyone walking away happy and feeling good?
At any rate, I'm really happy for Cassel. And I want to thank him for spending three years being prepared to take the lead role. I give him a lot of credit for taking the Boy Scout motto to heart: Be Prepared. He was prepared and it worked out. It worked out for everyone.