I say as an avowed Pats fan: Bill Belichick would be right at home on Wall Street. In case you’ve missed the latest episode of Belichick Behaving Badly, the Pats just traded franchise-tagged QB Matt Cassel to Kansas City, along with 8-time New England Sporting Idol Mike Vrabel (LB/TE), for a bag of Sun Chips and a handjob from Tyler Thigpen.
This is significant because the Pats’ longtime Director of Player Personnel, Scott Pioli, recently took a job as GM of the Chiefs. And the second round pick (34 overall) does not seem to be suitable compensation for two all-pro caliber guys.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was offering New England and Denver a three way swap, in which TB would get Jay Cutler, Denver would get Cassel, and NE would get TB’s first-rounder. If we do the math, a first rounder is better than a second rounder. And not losing all-versatility-8-touchdown-linebacker Mike Vrabel would have made Pats fans happy, too. I mean, he’s not Tedy Bruschi, but he’s endeared himself significantly over the years.
So the upshot of this is that New England basically gift wrapped a new QB and a locker room leader to KC (desperately in need of both), in exchange for less than they could have gotten on the open market. Beyond that, Denver spooked the bejeezus out of their starting, all-pro QB by trying to unload him, a few weeks after a new coach arrives, for a guy who has started 13 games since high school, all of them with Randy Moss and Wes Welker as his receiving targets.
If you really want to talk about rich, Josh McDaniels, just recently the Pats offensive coordinator, is Denver’s head coach. Boy, he and Cutler must have some rapport built up by now.
Anyway, my thoughts:
1) The Pats aren’t actually getting such a raw deal. 34th overall is a much cheaper player contract than any sort of first-round pick, without that significant of a talent drop from someone selected in the 20s.
2) Matt Cassel was going to cost NE over $14 million this year. Mike Vrabel $3.2 MM.
3) Belichick’s coaching tree is notoriously unsuccessful. Perhaps he works subtly to ensure this, so as to keep his Genius status intact.
4) Wait … is New England in cost cutting mode? The fourth-highest-valued sports franchise in the world? (1 Redskins, 2 Yankees, 3 Man U)
Update: Way more on the burgeoning conspiracy theories from ESPN … it appears the Pats turned down the 12th overall pick.