Ever since the Patriots traded Matt Cassel to the Chiefs, I’ve been waiting for this weekend like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning. I wasn’t disappointed with the Pats only landing a second-round pick for the lifelong backup and Mike Vrabel, but more intrigued, intrigued with not the Patriots, not Scott Pioli and the Chiefs, but the Lions. Yes, the 0-16, No. 1-pick-in-each-Day-1-round-owning Lions.
Ever since that infamous deal back in February, I always thought, “Why didn’t the Lions give New England the 33rd pick for Cassel and Vrabel? Surely they need a franchise quarterback. That way, they get one, and keep the No. 1 overall pick [not to mention a gaining a savvy veteran in Vrabel].”
Instead the Pats got No. 33 from K.C. and Detroit signed former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and took safety Louis Delmas from Western Michigan in Round 2. Dissection time.
Before officially selecting their future Saturday afternoon, the Lions signed Stafford to a 6-year deal with $41.7 million guaranteed. Cassel recently signed a similar deal with K.C. for six years, $36 million guaranteed.
Call them even (which they’re not, but do it for argument’s sake). The Lions end up with an unproven rookie quarterback and an undersized safety who played in the MAC (that was not a shot at the MAC, well, sort of, but only because I witnessed worthless Wisconsin dismantle Akron last season). Had they shipped No. 33 to New England, they’d end up with Cassel – a proven commodity groomed by (arguably) the best, Vrabel and the No. 1 overall pick, which of course they’d have to trade for a handful of lesser (call them “value picks (which they desperately need) because they wouldn’t be able to pay both Cassel and Mr. No. 1 Overall. Doesn’t that make so much more sense?
The only reason it doesn’t is if Detroit truly believes Stafford is going to be the next Peyton Manning. I happen to like the guy and think he’ll be a good NFL quarterback. But what if he’s the next Akili Smith? Or Ryan Leaf? Or Rick Mirer? Need I mention that former Duck named Joey?
Stafford may end up being better than Cassel
in the long run. But after a history-making 0-16 campaign in Motown, I’ll take the west-coast Matt for equal money, plus Vrabel, plus three or four second- or third rounders after trading No. 1. That’s how you build a team. I thought the Lions already fired Matt Millen?