The Pats put in the effort to franchise this guy and sign him to a deal at $14 million and then trade him and Vrabel for one second round pick? The obvious idea in franchising Cassel was to get something for a productive quarterback instead of nothing if he became a free agent (not to mention Brady knee insurance). A couple important thoughts here that I think are getting muddled in the rabble-rabbling going on at the WWL and by other ESPN related personalities.
The first issue is that Vrabel alone could have yielded a draft pick, although it probably wouldn’t have been a second round pick. However, the draft is how most teams are built and the Patriots have one of the best front offices in the league. They can get talent in the 6th and 7th round for Vrabel, while still dumping his salary.
The second issue has to do with the fact that Cassel alone could have yielded better than the second round pick on his own. We know this thanks to Jay Cutler’s hypoglycemia induced tantrum (by the way, getting Cassel who is familiar McDaniel’s playbook gets the Broncos more competitive faster than sticking with Cutler, although the ceiling may be lower with Cassel over Cutler). Cassel would have yielded the Pats the 12th pick in this year’s draft. Maybe this is a money issue regarding paying a first round pick, but I seem to imagine hearing that something like $14 million could come off the books somehow for the Pats. Also, being an NFL owner is immensely profitable, not to mention being the owner of the New England Patriots, even in a recession.
Third issue (and the real reason this has become such a story) being the tainted history of the hooded one and his relationship with the media. He obviously has had interesting “interpretations” of the NFL rules in the past. Such a trade to a just recently former colleague raises serious suspicion. Additionally, as mentioned by Mike, not trading to McDaniels could be a classic Belichick ego move in not wanting to help out a member of the coaching tree (see above about Cassel in Denver).
To Mike’s point that Cassel is not that good. No doubt he’s made much better by having played with Moss and Welker, but considering the dearth of decent QBs in the NFL (read Rosenfels to Minnesota, Orlovsky to Houston), his value is greatly increased because in the NFL a good QB is much more difficult to find than a good player any other position.