The pending acquisition of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith will result in Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel looking for work next season. Two teams have already emerged as possible landing spots, but could he wind up with his old team, the New England Patriots? The idea was floated to me by a Patriots fan yesterday and the more I thought about it, I could envision a scenario unfolding that would land Cassel back in New England.
The two teams currently linked to Cassel through speculation are the Arizona Cardinals and the Minnesota Vikings. Virtually every quarterback on the market or expected to be on the market has been linked to the Cardinals organization this offseason. I don’t think Cassel’s arm fits into what head coach Bruce Arians does offensively.
The Vikings on the other hand, could be a good fit. Christian Ponder has struggled and Joe Webb is no where near ready to be a starting quarterback so I fully expect the Vikings to add another body at the quarterback position.
Enter the New England Patriots. The Patriots don’t have their usual stockpile of draft choices in this years draft and could decide to move QB Ryan Mallett. Cleveland Browns general manager Michael Lombardi reportedly is interested in Mallett and could trade for the Arkansas signal caller. A trade would leave the Patriots with just Tom Brady and Mike Kafka on the roster. Kafka is raw and is not ready to assume the role of starting quarterback if something were to happen to Brady.
Cassel has appeared in 79 regular season games during his NFL career, including 16 for the Patriots in 2008 when Brady went down in the first game for the year. Cassel is a scheme quarterback. He was successful in New England and was successful for just one season in Kansas City. While playing under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Cassel posted his career best season with 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and a passer rating of 93.0.
Once Weis departed, Cassel’s production went down and in the last two seasons he has just 16 touchdowns to 21 interceptions while never posting a passer rating higher than 76.6.
If the Patriots do indeed move Mallett, and given the recent contract extension for Brady, that now becomes a real possibility, adding Cassel becomes a very solid fit for the Patriots while adding a quarterback with intimate knowledge of the offensive system in New England.