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Cassel: Million Dollar Bust or Gem? by Bryce Bade

On September 7, 2008 Tom Brady took a shot from then Chief, Bernard Pollard, and allowed Matt Cassel to finally climb off the bench and prove that he had a place in the NFL. But was it just a fluke being lined up behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL? Or has Matt Cassel’s talent been hidden for so long behind other great leaders?

Cassel has had a life of hidden talent that has had time to come to fruition. In 1994 the little league team that he was a part of reached the Little League World Series, as a senior at Chatsworth High School he was ranked number eight and in ESPN’s Tom Lennings Top 100 he was ranked number fifty-three overall. Later at USC he was the back up behind future Heisman and fellow NFL quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Due to his back up role, Cassel gain some playing time by lining up at wide receiver, tight end and special teams. Cassel played baseball while at USC and was selected in the 36th round by the Oakland A’s in 2004. In college, Cassel never started a game behind center and only completed 19 of 33 passes for 192 yards and no touchdowns.

One of the main reasons that Matt Cassel has a job playing in the NFL was his workouts at USC’s 2005 Pro Day, which landed him on several NFL teams draft radar. In the 2005 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots chose Cassel with their second to last pick, almost making him that years “Mr. Irrelevant.”

In 2008, Matt Cassel took over one of the most powerful and feared offenses in the NFL and lead them to an 11-5 mark, in the off-season the NE Patriots placed the franchise tag on Cassel and soon there after traded Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for only a second round draft pick. Cassel took over a dreadful offense under the direction of rookie head coach Todd Haley.

Matt Cassel hasn’t proven that he is a franchise quarterback just yet. One year ago, then head coach, Herman Edwards, was building a football team around his franchise quarterback, Brodie Croyle, but today Croyle is Cassel’s backup. In New England, Cassel was lined up behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and in Kansas City, Cassel has a rotating offensive line week in and week out from veterans to rookies that Haley keeps mixing up to find a winning set.

Behind his failing offensive line, Cassel is on pace to throw for 817 less yards than he did while in New England in 2008. But he is on pace to throw 24 touchdowns, three more than in 2008.

Cassel's time in Kansas City will be a long and tenured one according to his six year deal he signed before the beginning of the 2009 season. If Haley and current General Manager, Scott Pioli can find a winning offensive line, a running back that can run like Larry Johnson of the past and a set of receivers that are even slightly comparable to New England, Cassel and the Chiefs will be unstoppable in the years to come.

If Trent Green’s time in KC is any indication with the right set of players a banged up veteran can break franchise records and throw for over 4000 passing yards in multiple seasons, then Cassel could be the next Len Dawson and have #7 retired on the ring of honor.


  1. we need to trade croyle and get a vet to back up Cassel . i dont think Cassel will win the next time he starts. who am i kidding lets just cut our losses and get a top guy. this is it we just cant wait any longer. i dont want to say i told you so. just do it what are we waiting for

  2. cassel is no LEN DAWSON i only wish he was