Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, reports the New England Patriots have traded quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the Chiefs' 2009 second-round draft pick (34th overall).
This move speaks volumes from two sides:
- The Patriots believe quarterback Tom Brady (knee) will be completely healthy for the start of the 2009 season.
- The Chiefs, led by former New England vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, feel Cassel's production last year in New England was not a fluke and quarterback Tyler Thigpen is not capable of being their quarterback of the future despite a strong showing in 2008.
This move will help provide the Patriots with some immediate salary cap relief, wiping Cassel's $14.5 million cost off the books this year.
Cassel, a career backup in both the NFL and college ranks until last year, posted very strong numbers in his first year as a starter following Brady going down in Week 1. Cassel hit an impressive 63 percent of his passes for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. He also wasn't shy to tuck the ball and run when needed, tacking on another 271 yards rushing and two scores on the ground.
Fantasy owners should not expect nearly the same immediate success in Kansas City, as there likely will be some growing pains right off the bat. However, with the likes of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and tight end Tony Gonzalez, Cassel will have some weapons to work with. Furthermore, if the Chiefs can get running back Larry Johnson back on track, they may have a stronger balance on offense than New England last year.
Cassel, in early analysis, should be considered a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback or an ideal No. 2. Why? There just is not a track record developed yet with him that you can clearly depend on. He is someone you want to be forced to play, not someone you are forced to play due to no other options.
Those in dynasty leagues can part ties with Thigpen, as his value just fell through the floor.
For those in dynasty leagues looking long-term with Brady, his value is less murky now. While there are still some questions surrounding how sound his knee will be at the start of the year, the Patriots just gave him a huge vote of confidence. He remains a solid No. 1 fantasy quarterback during 2009, but you will still need to have a more than competent backup to hedge your bets.
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA
TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer
of the Year by the FSWA,
received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo!
Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured
on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA,
FSWA and FSTA.
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