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The Patriots have yet to report that the franchise Matt Cassel will be confirmed, but that does not mean it will happen, especially when recovering from Tom Brady really late. And while the organization has a history of handling personal data - no matter seriously - are as a matter of national security analyst for CBS and the sweater vest enthusiast Phil Simms absolutely sure, Cassel New England beat the franchise player tag. He heard their preferred source: Phil Simms.He acknowledges, however, that the first backup of the backup USC used to play in the Patriots 'offensive', but that does not mean it is not legitimate to start the fourth. He opened the eyes of the people in the league, and I know it is a crime, and they did a good job and all, but I always disconnect the quarterback of the team. Matt Cassel is big, strong, athletic, knows when to run with the football today, and oh, can really throw. Can someone who comes in the draft to fill the bill? It's a solid point, and one of the Patriots will undoubtedly increase if trade agreements Kassel offseason.
The Lions, Vikings, Bucs and Jets are four teams, off the top of my head, who could be looking for a long-term franchise quarterback. And, save, maybe Detroit -- who are No. 1 at something ... the 2009 first-overall draft pick -- one could make an argument for sending a first-rounder New England's way for Cassel. Now, assuming Brady won't be ready to start the '09 season, I don't think a trade will happen, but for the sake of argument, let's say it does. Here's something to consider (via the Boston Globe's Mike Reiss): [Cassel] deserves whatever comes his way, but at the same time he also benefited from having some terrific yards-after-catch players in Wes Welker, Kevin Faulk and Randy Moss around him.
Approximately 55 percent of the team's passing yards came after the catch, which was a league high. So if a team is going to trade for Cassel, I think it must ask itself some important questions: Do we have a similar system and talent? And is Cassel indeed a proven option without those parts around him (e.g. Tom Brady in 2006)? To answer the last two questions: no and no. None of the teams listed above have anywhere near the offensive firepower of the Patriots, but that doesn't mean Cassel can't be successful in, say, Tampa or New York. Just that it's probably important to temper the expectations. Even though he might occasionally look like Brady in the pocket, he most certainly is not. Again, that's not a knock; just stating what should be obvious: there's a huge difference between arguably the best quarterback in the league this decade and a guy who had an above-average season throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
I suspect some team desperate for quarterback help will make the Patriots an attractive offer. I'm just not sure New England will be in a position to make a deal until they know more about Brady's knee.