Monday, March 2, 2009

The Curious Case of Collusion in Kansas City

First, let me say that I am in no way implying, insinuating, hinting, alluding, or nudge-nudge wink-winking that there was any actual collusion involved in Kansas City's weekend wheelings and dealings; because I have neither the proof nor the legal team to back up such an accusation.

I just think alliteration can be mildly humourous from time to time. Very mildly.

When you cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs, it's not often that your team is the talk of the NFL and mainstream media - unless it's something like, "Can you believe they actually won 2 games?" It's like cheering for St. Louis, except with fewer Super Bowl wins in the past 39 years.

But now Kansas City is in the spotlight for something positive, or at least positive at first glance. Or positive in theory. Or something. Sorry, I'm not really used to this sort of thing... pos-i-tive?

In any case, you may or may not have heard that the Kansas City Chiefs have acquired Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel from the New England Patriots for... a 2nd round pick. You are reading that correctly. Did I mention that Kansas City's GM worked for New England until about a month ago?

At first glance this seems like a total fleecing. The Chiefs are getting an 11 win quarterback and a Pro Bowl linebacker with 3 Super Bowl rings in exchange for a 2nd rounder. However, this is New England and Bill Belichick we're talking about - they don't get fleeced on anything.

First of all, Matt Cassel has played 15 meaningful football games since highschool - winning 11 of them last year with New England. Not to overstate my own athletic prowess, but I'm pretty sure that given the opportunity I could win 11 games for New England. I'm not ready just yet to label Cassell as a "system quarterback" but I'm not ready to herald him as the second coming of Len Dawson either. Is he going to be better than Tyler Thigpen for the Chiefs? Probably.

Secondly, Mike Vrabel will be 34 when the season starts and is clearly on the downside of his career. He's a pass rushing linebacker who had 4 sacks last year. He will provide a sorely needed lockeroom presence though.

Why am I immediately pointing out the flaws of these two players? Well, A) you obviously don't know me very well and B) the Chiefs didn't just get Tom Brady and Jerrod Mayo, they got a career backup and a 34-year old. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good deal for the Chiefs. I just don't think there were any shady dealings going on between the USS Scott Pioli and his former team, as some people on the Internets are claiming. There are reports that Denver and Tampa offered much, much more for Cassel but accepted Kansas City's lesser offer. From what I've read, those other offers just came to late - after a deal with KC was already done.

The best part of this deal for Kansas City fans might be the fact that Jay Cutler is pouting and Denver might be imploding before the season even starts.

There were plenty of other free agent signings and trades over the past few days, but I just don't have time to make fun of them all. With a little luck and a lot of schedule coordination we'll have another podcast up later this week or early next week discussing all the goings on the in the NFL.

Speaking of podcasts, we are now up and running on iTunes. If for some reason you'd like to listen to it on iTunes, simply access the iTunes Store and type From Rags to Rags into the search window and we're the first podcast listed. Then click Subscribe to download new episodes automatically.


trebor said...

It has been an intresting start to free agency with a couple of noodle scrathers already.

I really didn't see what was wrong with thigpen, he's young and did not bad in the system. Although fantasy is no reality thigpen was a starter for many teams down the playoff stretch cause he was playing good. Bringing in cassel I don't really understand.

As mentioned he's not a season veteran, he came from a system where I can't name the last bad qb they've had. The system he was in was solid protection and short dump passes to fullback, TE and welker, then every once and awhile heave to moss.

He's probably going to be runing for his life now, and short dump passes doesn't really fit the haley offensive scheme, unless bradley is an emerging star that no one knew about?? I'm guessing gonzo will be gone but maybe he sticks around now though the TE didn't see much of the ball in arz.

With the chance of gonzo gone, and LJ your clearly in rebuilding mode, why take caseel, mold thigpen into the qb and surround with roll players, which is what pioli is used to not shelling out money for 1 season hits.....

It will be interesting to see how this turns out for KC and also what the pats do with the 4 2nd rnd picks this year and the 18 mil they gained in capspace.

Anonymous said...

I still think giving up a 2nd rounder for an 11 win qb and an all-pro linebacker is a pretty darn good deal. I suppose time will tell. KC had to do something and the something was fairly substantial on the plus side in my opinion. Yeah, I know it won't be Moss and Welker but... maybe this elevates Gonzo to his former glory? Vrabel will also contribute from an experience/leadership/just win baby perspective for the couple of years he may have left.

New England has also exposed itself somewhat at the qb position with respect to going with a guy that has the type of knee injury that has ended many careers. Risky.


Napoleon in Rags said...

@ B - I agree that it's a good deal for KC, in terms of return for what they had to give up. But I'm always leary about Belichick - it always seems like there's something he knows that we don't. I hope the Chiefs didn't just get a box of defects and factory seconds.

I also agree that New England seems to have put themselves in a bad spot at quarterback. The general concensus is that it takes two years to come back at full strength from an ACL injury - nevermind an ACL and MCL injury plus subsequent complications. I know Tom Brady is superhuman, but I think he's going to struggle this season.

@ Trebor - It will be interesting to see how Cassel does in Haley's system because you're right, the things that made each successful are completely opposite. Kansas City really had no deep threat to speak of, so Haley will probably have to adjust his offence. And they really have no possession reciever to speak of (a la Wes Welker), so Cassel is going to be without a security blanket. I think bringing in Cassel will make KC keep Gonzalez or at least try to, just so there will be one viable target. A guy like Laverneous Coles might be someone who makes sense for the Chiefs

Rider Prophet said...

You should consider yourself lucky. Your Chiefs get Cassel while my Vikings settled on the human helicopter known as Sage.

Napoleon in Rags said...

You're not confident in Hurricane Rosenfels to take you to the promised land? What about John David Booty-shorts?

Trebor said...

I like hurricane going to minny. He at least can throw the ball, even if it is to the wrong team a lot. Though they are still saying the qb spot is open I can't see how he's no the starter.

and then if minny would have got housh like they wanted....

Rider Prophet said...

True, Rosenfall may not be much to brag about but he should be an improvement over Jackson.

As for Housh, that would have been pretty sweet... stupid Seahawks. But I guess when you have the choice between having Hasselbeck throw to you or having Sage/Tarvaris throw around you... the choice is pretty easy.