March 2, 2009

NFL’s moving day

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

There’s really only two weekend with heavy movement in the NFL, draft weekend and the weekend that just passed, the beginning of free agency. What? You thought that the trade deadline matters in this league like in the other big North American sports? Well, this weekend didn’t let down and there was at least one big move that will have some heavy fallout: The Matt Cassel trade.

Cassel was sent to Kansas City to take over the rebuilding team and help former Patriots personnel man, Scott Pioli. K.C. seemingly fleeced the Pats for a good starting QB/building block for the team, but we really have no idea what Belichick is thinking — ever — so there must be something more this swap. Seriously though, I have no idea how the Chiefs managed to add Cassel and Mike Vrabel for only a second round pick. And that lopsided trade wasn’t even the most scandalous part of this story.

The real fallout will happen in Denver, where Jay Cutler is apparently pissed that the Broncos even considered trading him. The Broncos apparently had a deal in place to send their cornerstone QB to Tampa and get Cassel in return. New England would have received the Bucs 12th overall pick in that deal, which makes the actual trade with the Chiefs even more ludicrous. So now Cutler is pissed — rightfully — that the team that he has lead the past few seasons would get rid of him without even approaching him first. I do understand that new coach Josh McDaniels would want his former student Cassel to helm his new team, but he went about this all kinds of wrong. So, now, let the derby for Cutler begin — and you have to think that Tampa is pretty high on the list of teams that would want him. Look out for Detroit too if Denver wants the first overall pick to take Matt Stafford.

The Broncos did improve their team on the defensive side of the ball — and they’ll be playing a lot of D if they can’t smooth out their Cutler situation. But, the addition of Brian Dawkins is part of a bigger story: The revamping of Philly’s defensive back core.

With Dawkins departing for Denver and the Eagles dealing away Lito Sheppard, that’s two high quality defensive backs that won’t be returning to the City of Brotherly Love. This leaves the Eagles with a lack of depth in the defensive backfield and if one of their starters, Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, were to go down, the Eagles would be in trouble. The same goes for safeties Quintin Mikell and Quintin Demps — there’s not much below them on the depth charts.

While the Cowboys made a few moves (Kitna and Brooking are two solid adds at question marked positions), they didn’t take a run at Ray Lewis, who is now sitting in a corner, waiting to see if anyone will give him more than the deal that Baltimore offered. Don Banks got it right, Lewis’ gamble didn’t pay off.

Staying in Texas, Houston showed the Cowboys exactly how NOT to solidify their backup QB slot. Signing Dan Orlovsky to a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal is about as dumb as you can get. When you figure in that starter Matt Schaub gets injured every other week, the Texans are in deep trouble.

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