View Full Version : Chiefs won't talk about Pioli's big move

03-03-2009, 01:13 AM
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scott Pioli pulled off a big deal in his first major act as Kansas City's general manager, landing quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel for a second-round draft pick.

Not a package of draft picks, not the second-rounder and another player, not even with cash thrown in. A potentially franchise-building quarterback and a starting linebacker for one second-round draft pick. That's it.

The obvious question is, how did he get so much for so little?

Sadly, there's still no answer.

Two days after the trade with New England was announced, the Chiefs were again mum on what seems like a monumentally lopsided deal.

Pioli? Unavailable. Coach Todd Haley? Evasive. Cassel? On speaker phone for his introduction to the Kansas City media. Vrabel? Also not available.

"I won't get into specifics of that. I'm glad we have both players on the team," Haley said Monday.

That's it. No discussion of how the trade came together, not even a "we got a good deal." It was calculated, tidy, somewhat mysterious. In other words, very Patriots-like.

Of course, that's no surprise. As vice president of player personnel in New England, Pioli helped turn the Patriots into a dynasty, gathered all the pieces for coach Bill Belichick to win three Super Bowls.

Those ties to New England clearly played some role in the trade to get Cassel and Vrabel. How much? It's hard to tell since no one's talking about the deal.

Cassel was talking, but not in person and not about specifics of the trade. Calling in from somewhere in Kansas City, he was thrilled at the chance to be the man after eight years of being the man behind the man.

"I've been working really, really hard for a long time, and I finally had an opportunity last year and got a taste of what it's like to be out there and play and be on the field every snap," he said. "I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to do the same thing here and try to get this thing going and get on the right track and win ball games."

On paper, the Chiefs clearly got the better end of the deal.

Cassel, after three years as Tom Brady's backup and five more on the bench at Southern California, proved to be a more-than capable starter, leading the Patriots to an 11-5 record after Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener against Kansas City.

Cassel would have become a free agent in the offseason, so the Patriots hit him with the franchise tag as insurance in case Brady didn't fully recuperate. With Brady's recovery going well, New England opted to trade Cassel instead of paying the 2007 MVP's backup $14.65 million for one year.

Cassel was reportedly part of a proposed three-team trade that would have sent him to Denver and Broncos starter Jay Cutler to Tampa Bay -- a rumor that left Cutler feeling a little sour. That deal apparently fell through and Kansas City was the beneficiary, getting a quarterback who threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns for what amounts to half a second-round draft pick.

"He's a guy with just one year of experience, but he's coming from a good system and a place where they've done a good job of winning games in the NFL," Haley said. "Anytime you can get a player that's been around winning, I think that's a good thing."

Cassel for a second-round draft pick probably would be seen as a steal. Adding Vrabel, too? That seems like tunnel-under-the-floor bank-heist stuff -- again, on paper.

Though on the downside of his 12-year career, Vrabel will provide a veteran presence to a 2-14 team that was the youngest in the league last year. He also should give the Chiefs some help with a pass rush that had an NFL record-low 10 sacks a year ago.

The Patriots, whose only comments on the trade were in a statement issued Saturday, cleared $4.3 million from the salary cap by trading Vrabel, a 34-year-old entering the last year of his contract.

"He plays physical, he's true pro in every sense of the word and, again, you get a guy who's used to winning," Haley said. "Around a young team like we have, I think that's a valuable asset to have on your team. I'm happy to have both guys on this team."

Especially at these prices.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

Matt Cassel/Mike Vrabel deal lopsided? Kansas City Chiefs mum on trade - ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3947061&campaign=rss&source=NFLHeadlines)

03-04-2009, 01:26 PM
March 1, 2009 12:25 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Circumstances surrounding the Matt Cassel trade keep getting curiouser and curiouser.

The more we learn, the more inexplicable it gets.

The New England Patriots sent Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 34th overall selection in this year's draft, compensation that seemed a little weak on the surface.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen has since reported there was a much better offer on the table, that the Patriots passed on the 12th overall pick in a three-way trade that would've sent Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Patriots did business with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, who for the previous nine years worked closely with Bill Belichick in the Patriots' front office. It must be noted new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was Belichick's offensive coordinator in New England.

Mort and I have exchanged a few e-mails on the subject. Here is how he broke down the proposed three-way deal:

This one defies logic, but a source I really trust tells me it's true: The Broncos were willing to offer their own first-round pick (12th overall) to the Patriots for Cassel. Obviously, it was conditional upon Cutler being traded and Tampa Bay was the most likely destination, the Bucs willing to part with their first- and third-round picks.

But Belichick never embraced a trade with the Broncos, even though it was a head-scratcher on the value part (second-rounder versus a first-rounder). It suggests two or three speculative thoughts:

Belichick has always valued second-round picks (he now has three) and didn't want to be stuck at No. 12 financially for whatever reason;
Belichick had an agreement with Pioli all along and wouldn't break his word;
Belichick isn't about to help another former assistant.
The Broncos sensed resistance all along, which is why they held the Bucs, Lions, Vikings, etc., at arm's length and allows McDaniels his plausible deniability on trading Cutler (and logic supports his denial).

However, despite intense efforts to keep this run at Cassel under wraps, enough damage has been done that Cutler may now be on the block.

The Broncos/Cutler aspect of the trade was reported by the Boston Globe. A Patriots' leak? Why? To mess with McDaniels?

Mort is correct. The information is astounding.

Several citizens of Patriot Nation have written into my AFC East mailbag and left notes in the comments section that Belichick didn't want a first-round pick for Cassel, that a second-rounder is more financially palatable.

Ridiculous, I say. The Patriots had the No. 10 pick last year and were highly successful with it, selecting defensive rookie of the year Jerod Mayo, a franchise player who could anchor their defense for the next decade.

The No. 12 pick is a commodity. The Patriots might've traded it for additional picks, dangling it on draft day to a team that has the hots for, say, quarterback Mark Sanchez, and doesn't want him to get away.

Mort left me with one last thought:

It is also interesting that Pioli made the trade without doing a deal with Cassel. This puts a lot of leverage on Cassel's side going forward. Then again, Pioli probably sensed Cassel would have preferred McDaniels and the Broncos for all the obvious reasons, which may have influenced negotiations in Cassel's favor anyway. AFC West rivalry revived here.

That's a lot to think about.

What do you think happened?

Why would Pats turn down 12th pick for Cassel? - AFC East - ESPN (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afceast/0-6-0/Why-would-Pats-turn-down-12th-pick-for-Cassel-.html)

03-04-2009, 05:49 PM
It wouldn't have bothered me to get a 2nd round pick back for Cassel because it clears up cap space if they had waited to trade him. They didn't even wait a week till free agent period started. Maybe the 49ers, Bucs, Lions, Bears would have given up a lot more. Question for you guys is Vrabel really done, some sports shows say he is, or was his cap # just too big. Could be Pats have some other deals in place or another stud defensive player they are after in the draft who knows. They better get some better corners in the worst way its probably one of the biggest reasons they haven't won it all the past few years.