July 27, 2012; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) drops back to pass during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
Before you read any more of this post you need to know that my personal opinion is that not only do I believe that Matt Cassel will be the starting quarterback in 2013, I am beginning to think it's very likely. Note that I said 2013, as in, not just this-coming season. Just want to be clear.
This is based on the assumption that he stays healthy all year and/or Ricky Stanzi isn't given a chance to show if he can be counted on to be the starter in 2013. I do NOT think the Chiefs will hand over the starting quarterback duties to Stanzi unless he's proven in a regular season game that he can take over as the starter. If Cassel goes down and Stanzi goes out there all-Tom-Brady like out of nowhere, then all bets are off. But Matt Cassel gives the Chiefs the best chance to win right now and I believe he will still give the Chiefs the best chance to win in 2013.
I know this won't be a popular opinion among Chiefs fans right now but hey, it's MY opinion. Take that for whatever it's worth, not much for StanziCity supporters I know.
Matt Cassel has been getting a raw deal from almost everyone, myself included. I'm not above saying that I have consistently described Matt Cassel as 'fantastically average'. But you put a good team around the guy and he's going to win football games as your quarterback, and he'll prove that this year. It seems as if Matt Cassel's passing ability has all of the sudden become described as similar to that lefty in New York that everyone is sick of hearing about ALL DAY EVERY DAY. (We get it already!!!).
This guy had a Pro Bowl season for the same Kansas City Chiefs fans that just a half-an-injury-ridden-season later booed him at a celebrity All-Star game in Kansas City (Allegedly.... good PR move though Matt). Talk to me all you want about the strength of teams that he played against in 2010, it doesn't matter to me when talking to people that think he's still 'terrible'.
A terrible quarterback doesn't play at a Pro Bowl level against anyone because.....he's TERRIBLE. The theory that he's 'terrible' has holes in it that rival Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, John Travolta's sexuality and the 'Mayan end of the world" theories or defenses. It just doesn't add-up. If you're willing to concede that he's 'average' and not 'terrible', we're heading in the right direction for now.
When you throw in the upgrades at the other positions on the offense you start to see that even with a tougher schedule in 2012, the team is that much better around him. The tight ends are better with the addition of Kevin Boss, the running backs are better as a whole with Peyton Hillis and possibly Cyrus Gray, the wide receivers are better with Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin, and the offensive line is better with Eric Winston. I repeat. A terrible quarterback doesn't play at a Pro Bowl level against anyone, even terrible teams because the quarterback too, is terrible. Matt Cassel is going to have a good season.
The fact that Peyton Manning was dangled in front of Chiefs fans as a possibility (not going there) plays a role in a lot of this in my opinion. Chiefs fans (myself included) got all delirious on Kool-Aid of the thought of Manning dawning a Chiefs jersey. That was quickly taken away when he ran to
I am not stating that Matt Cassel is an elite quarterback or what 'elite' even means. I believe he's good enough to win the AFC West championship this year and I think we can beat a good team in the playoffs. I have my reservations about whether or not we can win consecutive games against playoff caliber teams, like in the playoffs. But that's not reserved solely for Cassel or even just the quarterback position for the Chiefs, there are plenty of quality, average, however you want to describe them, quarterbacks in the NFL that haven't proven any more than Cassel has and most of them haven't proven as much.
There is a idea gaining momentum for those who like to talk about the NFL draft that the Chiefs could/should be in the market for a quarterback in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. There are plenty of good ones (supposedly) that are coming out next year and if you think about it, how many NFL teams would be in the market for a young QB next season? A lot of teams have young quarterbacks right now starting and the some that don't, have a guy that they're grooming to be the next guy already. It's feasible that one or two of those good quarterbacks fall to the mid/late first round (Where I assume the Chiefs will be picking, hopefully on the late side).
Even in the case of the Chiefs drafting a guy in the first round I don't think they go into 2013 with an unproven Ricky Stanzi and a first round pick competing for a starting job. That seems like a bigger gamble than I think the Chiefs would make considering the amount of quality players the Chiefs currently have in their primes. I was recently asked the question from a known Cassel non-believer, "What do you do with Cassel if the Chiefs go 8-8 in 2012 and he's below average?" Great question.
Cassel has an escalating contract for the final two years of his deal. He's owed $7.5 million in 2013 and $9 million in 2014. A first round pick between No. 16 and No. 22 this past year received a four-year deal worth roughly $8 million total. Ranging from the high 8's at No. 16 to the low 8's at No. 22. That's an average of about $2 million per year. Brady Quinn signed a 1-year, $1.5 million deal for the Chiefs this off-season. Do I think the Chiefs would be willing to spend $500k more than Quinn's contract (from a numbers standpoint) on a first round pick PLUS the extra $2 million more Cassel is due in 2013 than 2012? Without a doubt I do. A grand total of $2.5 million more to bring on a rookie while keeping Cassel just in-case he's not ready yet seems like a no-brainer to me. That's the kind of calculated gamble I can see the Chiefs making.
I still think Cassel would win that battle for being the best option for the team in 2013. If you follow any national guys on twitter that are going around to the NFL camps you might be seeing some of the same things I've seen regarding a couple of high-profile rookie quarterbacks. They may be superstars in the making but the remarks haven't all been glowing on RG3 and Tannehill early in training camp. I'm not even arguing if they become superstars down the road, it's when, and how does that relate to the Chiefs situation in 2013 if they do something similar? Keeping Cassel is a good thing and I think he'll succeed this year anyways. Eventually this guy will get some love from all of us Chiefs fans.
Tell me what you think on twitter @bkissel7.