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Where next for Matt Cassel?

February 11, 2009

Ruminating over how great it must feel to sign a piece of paper that makes you 14.65 million dollars richer, we’ve been pondering where Matt Cassel might end up if the Patriots decide to trade him.

On the other hand, we’ve also been pondering whether or not he’d be happy to end up at some of those places. Especially given that his other option is to get paid a lot of money to watch game film in New England.

The “one player” away crowd

Chicago: Cassel joy factor 8/10

Matt Forte - saves you having to pass the ball all the time...

Matt Forte - saves you having to pass the ball all the time...

Despite being (in the words of our Simian brother) “a receiver graveyard”, Chicago may be among the better options for Cassel.

The defence /special teams units which carried the team to superbowl XLI are still mostly intact, but keeping the core  together much longer will be tricky.  Da Bears need to cash in on all that investment in Urlacher, Briggs and the secondary while they still can.

The emergence of rookie Matt Forte as a solid franchise back (1,700 all purpose yards last year) has given the Bears offense back its identity as a hard running cold weather team, but the well documented struggle of mediocrity at QB has held the side back.

If the Bears can find a decent WR in the draft to balance out Forte and its workable TEs, Chicago might be only a good QB from being a postseason contender. Cassel’s ability to play outdoors in the North and, you know, actually pass the ball to his own team would make him attractive to Bears GM Jerry Angelo, but the need to pay him serious money may not.

Tennessee: Cassel joy factor: 9/10

Out of nowhere, Tennessee had the league’s best record last year, despite fragile superstar Vince Young collapsing like HBOS shares. Kerry Collins was a decent game manager, but the team’s swarming defence, underrated ballcatchers and a good one-two punch at RB pushed the Titans to the AFC’s top postseason spot.

In 2009, the Titans will either prove that last year was a fluke and return to their old ways of being both dull and unsuccessful, or they’ll sustain their form and Jeff Fisher looks like a genius who had a long term plan. If it’s the latter, Cassel could be the final piece of the puzzle – and that’s an attractive position to be in.

Minnesota: Cassel joy factor 7/10

"Hands off"

"Hands off"

The Vikings were last year’s consensus “team to watch”, which means they were inevitably one-and-done in the playoffs. This doesn’t, however, make them the Seahawks of the North.

The side is mostly solid – RB Adrian Peterson built on a stunning rookie season and proved he’s the real deal in 2008, the defensive line and the secondary are spectacular, and TE Visanthe Shiancoe is both an improving passcatcher and burgeoning adult film star.

So it’s an attractive proposition…..which is why Brett Favre is so desperate to play there. Cassel is undoubtedly the better option for the Vikings in the long term, but like the Jets last year  Minnesota may decide this is the time to go for broke. Guess which way Brett’s huge fanbase in the media will want it to go?

Tampa Bay: Cassel joy factor 6/10

In recent years Tampa have collected QBs like novelty teapots, straining year after year to break out of the “almost there” class. In the meantime more and more players ran out of love for coach Jon Gruden, and eventually so did the owners.

New coach Raheem Morris will be looking for a long term starter at QB to hang his hat on, and that’s not Luke McCown. Tampa also have a load of cap space, which would make Cassel’s significant salary bearable. Tampa has, on the other hand, been running a west coast-ish system the last few years, so depending on the new coach’s assesment of the team he may choose to stick with that.

Being born agains

Kansas City: Cassel joy factor 6/10

"I will CRUSH the Raiders. Bwah ha ha ha"

Pioli: "I will CRUSH the Raiders. Bwah ha ha ha"

New Head Coach Todd Haley likely has a time on his hands and a clear mandate to build from the bottom up, so he’ll be looking to put his own pieces in place.

The Chiefs have a scattering of good young players (Dwayne Bowe, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles), a relatively weak division, and are probably about to lose bed-blocker Larry Johnson.

On the other hand their once great offensive line is now a long way from competing with the AFC’s best, and they have few elite players on either side of the ball. Rookie QB Tyler Thigpen impressed some (though depressed others) in 2008, but it’s anyone’s guess whether Haley and new GM Scott “Kingpin” Pioli rate him as the future of the team.

San Francisco 49ers – Cassel joy factor 7/10

Man’s man head coach Mike Singletary is remaking his coaching staff, dumping glamour boy Mike Martz and throwing an ’85 Bears reunion in his place. It’s hard to tell what the 49ers will look like next year, but if he chooses to start with a proven QB Cassel could help shape the team.

Chances are big changes are coming by the bay, making the 49ers a wild card in not only this but pretty much all other personnel moves this offseason….

Detroit: Cassel joy factor: 1/10

"Go on, sign for Detroit"

"Go on, sign for Detroit"

On paper Detroit are desperately in need of a franchise QB, but then on paper Detroit are desperately in need of  48 players, 5 new front office guys, 26 new scouts, 4 new ballboys and a priest who does exorcisms.

Pre-draft buzz (seemingly all generated by Mike Mayock) has Detroit celebrating their record breaking 0-16 season by taking Matt Stafford at number 1 in the draft. If so, good luck to them, it’ll probably work out better than when the Redskins trade up to the 5 spot in order to draft another punter.

On the other hand, if Detroit chooses to get in the race for Cassel, he’ll enjoy having Calvin Johnson as the new Randy Moss, but not spending two years as Jared Allen’s tackle dummy while the O-line gets rebuilt.

The loose cannons

Denver: Cassel joy factor: 7/10

Positives: HC Josh McDaniels has been Cassel’s coordinator at the Pats, and will be looking to create a similar high octane offense at altitude.

Negatives: Never say never, but unless McDaniels really cleans house the franchise seems set with QB Jay Cutler

Overall: Reunion would be fun, but all that practicing against Champ Bailey would get depressing.

Dallas: Cassel joy factor 3/10

Positives: Tony Romo has been the great white hope for two years now, surely it’s time for a new one?

Negatives: Cassel has no criminal record, no nightclub incidents on the public record, and hasn’t yet been abused in the media by any of his teammates.

Overall: nice new stadium, decent offensive line, endless disappointments

Washington: Cassel joy factor 4/10.

Positives: Expensive free agent, lots of media interest

Negatives: Not old enough, not over the hill yet

Overall: Glory-less sell-out, but with his own private jet

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2009 10:44 am

    As a far-away (Europe) Bears fan, I am always looking for new sites with Chicago information.

  2. November 22, 2010 6:20 am

    Mike williams!!! TD tampa bay!!! Put it on the board bucs 2 score lead

  3. January 19, 2011 7:44 am

    I’m so gald that Bud Adams decided to keep Jeff Fisher as the Titans head coach. He deserved to stay, not that whiney brat Vince Young.

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