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The Future of Matt Cassel

What will happen to Matt Cassel next year? He’s an unrestricted free agent as soon as the curtain falls on the 2008. When you Google “Matt Cassel 2009” you can find articles and forum posts titled “Could Matt Cassel [wind up with (insert team here)]?”

Does Matt Cassel become a viable fantasy starter in 2009? With 21 TDs and 3,600 yards it’s understandable why he’s a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent. But consider the surrounding talent in New England – a great head coach, a veteran offensive line, the best deep threat in the history of the NFL, and a terrific underneath receiver with skills after the catch. How many teams have this combination of talent? None.
Still there are teams that could provide him elements of the Pats environment that helped him become a highly successful first-year starter.

Here is a quick look around the map at where he could potentially fit in:

Detroit: Placing Jon Kitna on IR against his will told us long ago that they’re in the hunt for a new QB. Calvin Johnson has a chance to be a better deep threat than Moss, but beyond Megatron, there’s not much else here. Kevin Smith has been playing very well without a dominant offensive line in front of him, but beyond these two players there’s no stability for the offense system unless the same coaching staff remains in place. If the Ford family retains Rod Marinelli, this will be a run-oriented offense that will want to go deep off the play action pass.

Chicago: The problem here is Cassel would have to work with young receivers with little to zero experience. At the same time, he’s pretty good in a short passing attack and he’s developing into an effective cold weather player. I’m convinced that Chicago isn’t satisified with either Orton or Grossman as their future quarterback and will be, at least, taking a look at the free agent market or, more likely, targeting young talent in the draft.

New York: If Brett Farve retires, the Jets will be left with Kellen Clemens and a cast of young quarterbacks with intriguing, but not blue chip, futures.  Even though Mangini is gone, I could see the Jets going after Cassel to put the middle finger in the (rival) Patriots face.

San Francisco: Cassel could be the type of guy the Niners would try to build around. The surrounding talent is young, but more experienced than Chicago. The issue will be the offensive coordinator/system San Francisco adopts. Shaun Hill has done enough to keep my attention as an option, but the 49ers have to be done with giving Alex Smith “the potential” label.  Could Shaun Hill have passed for 3,000 plus yards behind a New England line with weapons like Moss and Welker? Perhaps. Arizona is eventually going to build around Leinhart, and when they do, a guy like Warner could be viable working with Hill.

Minnesota: Strong running game? Check. Solid offensive mind? Check. Quality deep threat? Check. Compatible offensive matt casselsystem? Big question mark. It seems to me if Minnesota decides to pursue a quarterback they are going after McNabb, who has worked with Childress and won’t need any development.

St. Louis: Marc Bulger is a fine passer when he has time, but he’s frail and gets hit a lot. A recipe for disaster and this team is ripe for an offensive overhaul.

Early Verdict: I’m betting on San Francisco or Detroit. If Cassel winds up in either destination, I think 3600 yards and 20 scores would be a huge year for him. I don’t expect him to retain starter status numbers in 2009. If you do, I think he’ll disappoint.

And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!

January 6, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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