Matt Cassel is a Chief. Bizarre. It seemed destined to happen – the Chiefs didn’t have a true number one in town, and Scott Pioli left the Pats on good terms to go to K.C. as the main man. What is so surprising, though, is that the Pats essentially gave Cassel away. New England packaged linebacker Mike Vrabel with Cassel, and all they got in return was a second round draft pick, 34th overall. The Chiefs get two starters in two positions of high need, and they give up just a pick that is far from guaranteed to produce an instant starter. Strange. You could argue that Cassel’s contract future is uncertain because he only has one year at the expensive franchise tag right now, and that Vrabel is older and waning in effectiveness. Both may be true, but the first is likely easily surmountable, and the second isn’t a big deal because Vrabel still has some life in him, and he brings a great deal of leadership and experience to a team that really needs it. The precedent suggests that this is well below market value as well – Matt Schaub went for two second round picks, and he had done far less at the time. There are more than half a dozen teams that would have been interested in Cassel, especially, you woud assume, at this price – Detroit, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Carolina, the Jets, Chicago, St. Louis, and so on. New England could certainly have gotten more than this, so you really have to wonder why they didn’t. They definitely get cap relief, but they could have gotten that and more picks, too. I could even understand it a little bit more if the Chiefs were in the NFC. Maybe Bill Belichick has finally lost his mind.
John Kitna moved on to the Cowboys in exchange for cornerback Anthony Henry. This deal makes a lot of sense for both sides. Kitna was dispensable with Daunte Culpepper in Detroit and a young QB likely on his way, and the Lions desperately needed help in the secondary. The Cowboys get a huge upgrade at backup QB, and he’s a good guy who can be trusted to get Tony Romo in lie without causing any trouble. If only both of these teams showed this much insight in all of the deals they make.
The most interesting aspect of the Kitna deal is the price. Henry is a very servicable starter – easily in the top 40 or so corners in the league. He has started 51 of his last 56 games, and doesn’t make many particularly costly mistakes. In other words, you would be pretty happy if you drafted a guy in the second round who gave you the kind of production that he has. Henry has been in the league for eight years, but he still has more good years ahead of him than Kitna. What I’m saying is that Kitna was traded for not much less than what Cassel was, and the Lions didn’t have to throw in a starting linebacker as well.The Pats’ deal is so bizarre.