From the FanPosts. Mariotti's reaching pretty far on this one. -Primetime
Apparently Jay Mariotti thinks that something "smells" when it comes to the Chiefs - Patriots trade of Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. He is calling for the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investiage.
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.
These developments really should draw the attention of the commissioner. Goodell's rock-solid performance so far has been based on an aggressive, proactive approach to most league issues, including player conduct off the field.
Mariotti goes on to say that this deal looks like "an orchestration" because it involved Scott Pioli.
Belichick can argue that a 34th pick is quite valuable and that Cassel, before throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns after Tom Brady's season-ending knee injury, had spent his pro career wearing a ballcap. He also can say he loosened up almost $20 million of cap room, unloaded an older linebacker who had only 4 1/2 sacks last year and now owns four picks in the first two rounds, which will allow an aging team to keep getting younger. Still, all of that is overwhelmed by the fact his deal was with Pioli. It looks like an orchestration, and if the Chiefs recover from a lengthy futility streak that has bottomed out with 23 losses in their last 25 games, you'll be hearing plenty next season about Belichick's grand assist.
Seems to me like Mariotti is a little too parnoid over this whole ordeal, and the other TradeGate rumors just aren't necessary.