Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Um, No

No matter what happens this weekend (and I have a hard time believing the Pats will go 11-5 and miss the playoffs, so I am going to predict an easy Pats win and a narrow Jets victory over the Dolphins to propel the Pats to another AFC East title) the Patriots are going to have a decision to make at the quarterback position. Already some (also including Thunderstick in a text message to me the other day) are beginning to spevculate whether New England would keep Cassel and trade away Brady. Let's not be premature.

Cassel has been a revelation, and has done a great deal to help vindicate Bill Belichick's coaching reputation (not that he needed it in sane circles). But it is hard to envision a scenario in which the Patriots keep him and jettison Brady. Now, that said, I would not be surprised if the Pats do something uncharacteristic by placing a vast percentage of their resources in the quarterback position by franchising Cassel in order to ensure that they have a healthy starter at the beginning of the year, and then perhaps trade one of them as things shape up, though I am not certain if it is legal to franchise a guy and then trade him, or whether a traded franchise player can be signed to a long-term deal by his new team.

At the same time, the reality is that Brady is almost certainly not going to be ready to be the player he was when the start of the season rolls around next September. This is simply the reality of the knee injury he suffered, an injury that not so long ago would have been career-threatening. And so that is where the dilemma comes in to play. Intellectually I understand the sentiment, and I know that the Patriots do not exactly operate based on sentiment. But I still have a really hard time imagining even hard-hearted Belichick placing Brady, who played a significant role in turning his hoodie-adorned head coach into a genius, on the trade market in favor of Matt Cassel, no matter how painful losing Cassel is likely to be. Whatever Brady's condition in September, it is a pretty good guess what he'll be by December. And December is pretty important in the NFL.


GoodLiberal said...

I am wondering if he could be franchised and then traded for a high draft pick. We also have a lot invested in O'Connell too, after all. We also have other holes to fill: corner back and linebacker most obviously.

By the way, happy holidays!

El Aguila said...

It begs the question in the history of football how many transitions have taken place when a great/pretty good QB has been replaced with a QB that has kept their team competitive or even maintained a high standard of team play. The first answer that comes to mind is Montana to Young (Did I mention that the 49ers suck!). There is Meredith to Staubach; we can include Craig Morton who did take the Cowboys to Super Bowl V (Meredith-two NFL championship games, Morton-a Super Bowl appearance; Staubach-well you know).

But back to the Pats. Brady is still young and his Jersey sales alone are worth a lot of money to the Pats. This certainly is not a Favre-Packers quandary. Trading Brady to most other teams makes them really really good. Favre could only be decent on a few teams. Maybe a good comparison would be when Pete Rose went to the Phillies. Franchising Cassel could bring a lot of good draft picks to the right team.

Anonymous said...

i am english, and i was wondering, in your sport, american football, do you have a tournament where every team that exists can play each other. by which i mean, the best team in the country, to like, part time teams which are made up of shop keepers and street cleaners?
we have a football tournement where teams made up of people like that get to play the best football teams in the world, and rarely, even beat them, and continue in the tournement.
i aske this, because whever i hear of american football, i only ever hear the same old names.