So why does this deal make limited sense for New England? They simply didn't get enough in return. A few points on that.
1. Last year, the Chiefs got a first and a third for franchised defensive end Jared Allen when they dealt him to the Vikings. Defensive ends make a difference to an NFL team. But not as much as a quarterback does. It can be argued that Cassel's worth to the Chiefs was greater than Allen's to the Vikings. Yet they get just a second rounder? And Vrabel – one of the smartest and most versatile players of his generation – is a throw-in? Even Matt Schaub, a player who had one – ONE – persuasive NFL performance in Atlanta, commanded more when he was traded as a restricted free agent to the Texans. He pulled in two first-round picks.
2. Where was the fire? Even if the Patriots believed the market for Cassel was limited, wouldn't that have changed as time passed, teams missed out on prospects in the draft or became dissatisfied with the guys they had? Were all other destinations – Minnesota before it got Sage Rosenfels, Tampa, San Fran and Detroit – fully explored at the Combine and nobody was going to budge? Seems hard to believe.
3. What are the Patriots planning to do now at linebacker? I'm sure they'll find four guys to play their four linebacker spots, but there's no use for Vrabel's experience, smarts and ability?
4. If Belichick was propping up Pioli and the Chiefs as some have speculated (SI's Peter King being one), why to this extent? I mean, even a second and a fifth would have allowed New England to save some face.
Meanwhile, chew on these names for a moment.
Wide receiver Devin Thomas. Linebacker Paul Posluszny. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Cornerback Brodney Pool. Guard Chris Snee. Linebacker Boss Bailey. Running back DeShaun Foster. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. Defensive end Darren Howard. Tackle Chris Terry. Wide receiver Jacquez Green.
This isn't the first time Bill Belichick has made a personnel decision that left people scratching their heads. He was a moron to some when he sent Drew Bledsoe to the Bills in 2002. He was an idiot and his team hated him when he cut Lawyer Milloy in 2003. He was arrogant for taking on Corey Dillon and Randy Moss in 2004 and 2007 respectively. And even more arrogant for letting Adam Vinatieri go in 2006.
Yet even though Belichick was right and the head-scratchers were wrong every single one of those times, still ... Cassel and Vrabel to KC for a second-rounder?
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
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