Cassel’s 2010 salary will nearly double Drew Brees
Matt Cassel will earn a 2010 base salary of $11.75 million. This amount trails only Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, two former Super Bowl champions and league MVPs. In fact, of the top-five base salaries among quarterbacks for the upcoming season, a list that includes Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan, Cassel is the only signal caller that has never led his team to the playoffs.
Putting the Chiefs investment more in perspective, consider that Cassel is 14-17 in career starts, suffering twelve of those defeats in 2009. Drew Bress is 23-10 in the same span, playing to near perfection this past season, and earned a Super Bowl victory. Brees is set to receive a base salary of $6.489 million this year.
The numbers and comparisons will undoubtedly be frowned upon, but they are an indication of the work that needs to be done in free agency and the NFL draft if the chiefs expect to make good on their investment. Cassel won 10 games in New England, which equals the amount earned by Tom Brady a year later. The difference is, Cassel’s ten wins as a starter (Patriots 11-5 overall) were not good enough to qualify for the playoffs. Ten wins gave Brady’s Patriots the AFC Eastern crown and a playoff birth.
New England surrounded the quarterback with weapons. In Kansas City, the cupboard is bare. Chiefs receivers led the NFL in dropped passes, which contributed to Cassel’s 55 percent completion rate. Cassel also had little protection, sacked 42 times in sixteen games, tying for fourth most in the league. Together, they pose a lethal combination that brings death to passing statistics and buries hopes of success.
The chiefs saw value in a replacement player, someone who spent the majority of his college and NFL career filling the role of fourth quarter substitute in games already decided. Until they strengthen the supporting cast, and despite the amount of money invested in the former Trojan, this multimillion dollar Cassel is rendered worthless.