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Former Patriots backup and 2008 starting quarterback Matt Cassel has signed a six-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. He will be paid $63 million over the six years, with $28 million guaranteed. This lucrative agreement is certainly due to Cassel’s breakout 2008 season and the franchise tag the Patriots placed on him before sending him to Kansas City. Is Cassel worth the money?
With the massive amount of cash involved, Cassel is probably not worth it; nobody would be. The current economic situation in the U.S. is hitting teams and fans alike. The Chiefs and other teams should be wary of spending so much money. If you’re going to spend that much, you have to make sure it works out.
Despite the amount of money involved, Cassel should definitely perform well enough to warrant the nice-sized payday. He has been getting along well with his new teammates and the organization, so that should help him out quite a bit.
In 2008, he put up numbers that remind me of an early Tom Brady. Not making the playoffs with an 11-5 season is nothing to scoff at, though there are a few areas where Cassel could improve to ensure more quality performances and future playoff berths.
As of late, the AFC West has been lackluster; the Chargers won the division last year with an 8-8 record, the worst of the playoff teams. Hence, Cassel should have an easier time leading the Chiefs to the playoffs, likely through a division title. To do this, though, Cassel will need to be sure he can perform well in games against division rivals. Last year, Cassel and the Patriots lost to the Dolphins and the Jets. Giving away division games, especially in a division race, can easily mean the difference between going home or fighting on after Week 17, as the Patriots and Dolphins showed us last year.
In addition, the Patriots also racked up losses against the Chargers, Colts, and Steelers. These are all teams who have proven they can take it to the best teams; even the Chargers have knocked the Colts out of the playoffs the last two years. If Cassel wants to lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, he will need to get through talented teams in the post season. Doing this in 2009 (and not having close games against poorer teams like the 24-21 victory against the 4-12 Seahawks last year) will prove that Cassel is a talented leader and is worth the money he’s earning.