Friday, April 03, 2009
JAY CUTLER IS NOT MATT CASSEL
Every morning I workout and listen to Dennis and Callahan on WEEI. It's good motivation. I've got a loud, old-school exercise bike, and listening to Belichick/Pioli/Cassel conspiracy theories makes me pedal the bike faster and faster, trying to spin the wheel louder and louder to drown out the idiocy of people who think Darth Belichick would ever do anyone a favor.
Now, if you think Belichick made a mistake in the Cassel deal, that's fair. That makes sense. It's the conspiracy theorists who should have their feeble and useless brains removed from their skulls, and fed to pigs.
Here's the difference between the Jay Cutler deal and the Matt Cassel deal:
The Cassel deal had to get done quickly. There couldn't be any waiting for the Buccaneers and Broncos to get together for a threeway deal. The Patriots had no cap room. None. Zero. Zilch. You can't sign people if you're already at the cap. Remember, this Cutler to Chicago deal has been in the works in one way or another for weeks.
Matt Cassel has one year under contract, and that year costs $14.6 million. In other words, the Chiefs have one season with him, and it will cost them a pretty good chunk of change. If Cassel does well, he's not going to take a paycut in 2010. He'll get the same, or more, and the Chiefs will have to bid with other teams. If he performs poorly, the Chiefs waste $14.6M.
Cutler, on the other hand, has 3 years remaining on his deal. Each year is worth about $12 million. So for the Bears, if Cutler performs, they get him for 3 seasons. If he sucks, they cut him or trade him.
3. Different Players:
Believe it or not, Matt Cassel is not Jay Cutler. Cassel is actually older than Cutler. Cassel has thrown 555 NFL passes, Cutler has thrown 1,220. Cassel might be better than Cutler, but Cutler is more proven. Cutler's QB rating is 87.1. Cassel's is 88.2. In 2008, Cutler was throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. Cassel was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Neither QB has any significant playoff experience.
The key difference is experience. Cutler has twice as much. With Cassel, there are bigger question marks. He struggled throwing the deep ball, even with Moss. He struggled in the red zone. Without Wes Welker catching 111 passes in 14 games (7.9 per game), is Cassel even as good as Cutler? Time will tell.
There is less risk for the Bears in the Cutler deal. They get 3 years under contract, and a player with more experience and less unknowns. There was also plenty of time for the deal to get made. Remember, this drama has spanned weeks.
At the same time, the difference in value between the Patriots' deal, and the Bears' deal is staggering. Think how happy Chiefs fans must be, seeing how cheaply they got Cassel.
The Patriots could have shopped around a bit more aggressively, and at the very least driven the price up. They could have gotten the Chiefs to throw in a 3rd rounder, or at least a 4th rounder.
But again, the problem was the lack of buyers. Plenty of teams want QBs, but not all of them were interested in Cassel. And then there were teams that wanted Cassel, but already had QBs. So any deal with them would have to involve three teams.
Franchising Cassel cost the Pats value in the trade. Had they been supergeniuses and extended his contract before the season (hindsight is great, isn't it?), they could have traded him for anything they wanted to, or even held on to him as a backup. That was the best-case scenario move. But it would have required such foresight and intuition, that it's hard to criticize the Patriots for not doing it.
Was there a conspiracy?
Did Belichick get "fleeced?"
Nah, not really
Did he get the best deal he could have?
Is he human?
No, but he was designed and built by humans.