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I know it’s logical given the history of Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli to assume that there was shenanigans going on the big trade between the Chiefs and Patriots, with Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel going to the Chiefs for the 34th pick in the draft.
It seems laughable that a franchise QB and a role player could be traded for a 2nd round pick, after all. But, I think when one examines the situation, it becomes obvious that there was no foul play involved in this one.
The first item to note is that Matt Cassel’s stock is probably at it’s highest. What is the No. 1 rule to profit in the stock market? Buy low, sell high. If Cassel’s stock could go up, it certainly can’t go up much more. But, any flaws that exist could be exposed over time and his stock could plummet.
So, holding on to him makes it more likely the Patriots would be left with a devalued asset and one taking up a lot of cap room. Furthermore, trading at the deadline is not easy. After the offseason, not a lot of teams have cap room left to acquire a franchise player. And once again, the chance of Cassel’s stock dropping due to poor performance is too high.
Furthermore, the cap played into this move. Having Cassel around tied the Patriots’ hands a bit in regards to addressing their needs. The Patriots are smart with regards to picking up players, but you can only do so when your hands are tied by the cap. After the trading deadline, very few good pickups are available via waivers and free agency.
The cap also limited what the Patriots were willing to accept in return in terms of draft picks. If the Patriots got back the 2nd pick in the draft, yet again, too much of their cap would’ve been tied up in one player. The Patriots got the desired flexibility by acquiring a second round pick, which does not require as high a salary.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with dealing with former coworkers. We’ve seen it in baseball with Billy Beane and J.P. Ricciardi doing trades together, Theo Epstein and Josh Byrnes having exchanged players, and Dayton Moore also did a deal with his former organization. This happens regularly as the GM who has moved on knows his former talent much better than the talent he’s just recently inherited.
Yes, there are rumors of other trades having been available, but we do not know how far along those talks truly were. It’s possible that the Chiefs would have acquired another QB and those talks would’ve fallen apart, leaving Belichick handcuffed. So, I don’t see any reason to complain about the deal. And besides, if Belichick were to have given his former coworker a freebie, don’t you think he would’ve wanted the team to be in the NFC?