Gentleman Jay Mariotti knows a raw deal when he sees one and something about that Matt Cassel to Kansas City trade does not smell right to him.
In case you hadn't heard, the Patriots sent their "franchise" quarterback—who has fifteen non-high school starts—to the Chiefs, along with crafty veteran Mike Vrabel, and all they got in return was a single second-round pick. So wait ... that's why everyone was making such a big fuss about Cassel during the offseason? The Patriots were really going to throw out Tom Brady for a guy who wasn't worth half a second-rounder?
Or could it be that Cassel was simply a parting gift to former Patriots executive and new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli? Jay sure thinks so and he wants Roger Goodell to lay the smackdown on someone.
What better way to thank Pioli, who tag-teamed with Belichick to mold three Super Bowl-champion teams, than by setting him up with a dramatic personnel boost in his first winter? Problem is, it smacks of an integrity issue when Belichick earmarks business with a pal and doesn't maximize his return in a big trade. You think other teams aren't irked today at The Gray Hoodie's unusual graciousness? Complicating the story was a Saturday night report on ESPN.com that the Denver Broncos had pursued a three-way trade that would have reunited Cassel with new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and sent Jay Cutler to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who would have compensated the Patriots. The talks fell through for whatever reason — all of which is said to rightfully anger Cutler, an accomplished Pro Bowl quarterback who reportedly wants to be traded now — and it prompts more questions about the Belichick-Pioli perfecta winning out.
There's more, of course, and Mariotti does sound a bit paranoid ... but that doesn't mean people aren't out to get him. Cassel is almost certainly being overrated, but one lousy second-rounder for a guy that other much dumber teams would have gladly overpaid for? Plus another player to fill a roster spot thrown in? It does seem rather generous, especially for New England. Could Jay actually be the voice of reason here? Fascinating, if true.
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