Tags: Bill Belichick, Darius Butler, Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassell, Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots, NFL, Ron Brace, Tom Brady
This one is so painfully obvious that this will hopefully be short and sweet. To read a condensed version: the Patriots happily traded away a capable back-up(who will be starting next season) and a long-time defensive stalwart(Mike Vrabel) for a second round pick in the draft. This draft wasn’t the strongest in recent memory and it’s always a good idea to watch the moves that Belichick makes in order to gauge both his team, the player, and the draft.
He traded away Cassell, in part, for the good of the team. Nothing shows Tom Brady his confidence in his rehabbed knee like trading away a guy who threw for 3,000 yards for almost nothing. Sure he can tell Tom his position is secure for the time being and in the future and that he has faith in his reconstructed knee, but by trading away someone who was shown to thrive in the system he is completely committing to Brady. Without having to worry about his back-up usurping his starting spot, Brady’s confidence should only improve. This is an excellent move to show support for his star player. He knows that Brady at 75% is still better than Cassell and more than likely will be for seasons to come.
Secondly we must examine what he took in trade. A second round pick in the draft with which they took DB Darius Butler(40th overall). They are clearly content with offensive cogs, though developing some new offensive lineman should also be one of their priorities, and want young, hungry defensive players. The weak spot in this team had been the age and speed of the defense. Immediately after Butler they took a DL at the 41st pick(Ron Brace). It seems that Belichick was very calm and calculated about what he needed, didn’t jepordize his position by a fire sale of players, and looked to improve his young talent pool on defense.
Simply put, trading Cassell was a statement. Brady is fine and will certainly still perform at a top-5 quarterback level.