The Kansas City Chiefs should cut QB Matt Cassel immediately.
It makes perfect sense. At 1-9, the Chiefs’ season is over. Cassel has effectively been benched for the equally ineffective Brady Quinn and his career in Kansas City is almost certainly over. Cassel’s contract is too expensive to justify his play and regardless of whether current GM Scott Pioli is retained or a new regime is brought in to run the front office, Cassel will probably be let go this offseason.
So why not cut him now?
With the NFL trade deadline passed, Cassel and his contract are subject to pass through waivers. Cassel is due 7,500,000 in 2013 and 9,000,000 in 2014. There is no way he stays in KC.
Given his poor play, it is unlikely any team would claim Cassel, especially given his contract numbers. However, if a team was desperate for help at the QB position, it might just take a chance.
Enter the Pittsburgh Steelers and our old friend Todd Haley.
With QB Ben Roethlisberger expected to miss multiple weeks with a rib injury and backup Byron Leftwich also in jeopardy of missing time, the only QB the Steelers have left is the 37-year-old Charlie Batch.
Pittsburgh has had relative success when Batch has had to step in for Roethlisberger in the past. However, at 37, even the best of QBs are at the end of the line and Batch was never what you would consider “the best of QBs.”
Regardless of whether or not they feel comfortable with Batch, Cassel would be an ideal fit in Pittsburgh. He’d be more familiar with Todd Haley’s offense than any QB on the Pittsburgh roster, including Roethlisberger. Cassel has also proven that he can be an effective QB if the team around him is solid. The Steelers are aging but they feature a strong offense and a couple of play-making receivers. TE Heath Miller is also a nice option over the middle, an area of the field Cassel is generally most successful throwing to. Heck, the Steelers even have former Chiefs TE Lenny Pope roaming the sidelines.
If the Chiefs cut Cassel, the Steelers would almost certainly consider picking him up.
The situation reminds me a lot of the Kyle Orton ordeal from last season. The Broncos knew they were done with Orton and so they cut him lose late in the season after the Chicago Bears lost QB Jay Cutler. The move made sense for the Broncos since it was widely believed the Bears would want to snatch Orton up. When all was said in done, the Chiefs, Cowboys and Bears all put claims in on Orton and KC was awarded his contract because the Chiefs had the highest waiver priority thanks to their poor record.
While it would be a long-shot that the Steelers would claim Cassel, it can’t be totally ruled out. If the season ended today, the Steelers would be the last team into the playoffs as the second wild card team. At 6-4, the Cincinnati Bengals are right behind them at 5-5. The Steelers face two tough road rivalry games in the next two weeks against the Browns (who have been in nearly every game this season) and the Ravens. Another loss to Baltimore would nearly kill any hope the Steelers would have of winning the AFC North. Securing Cassel, either through waivers or free agency, would certainly give the Steelers a viable option, either as a temporary starter or a backup.
At this point, Pittsburgh is searching the scrap heap for emergency QBs off the street. They could just be desperate enough to take Matt Cassel off of the Chiefs’ hands.
The move would also likely be good for Cassel. He’d get a chance to catch on as a backup somewhere else while the QB market is non-existent as opposed to this offseason when it will potentially be flooded with veteran signal callers. Besides, if Pioli feels any loyalty to Cassel, cutting him now would be a favor. Pioli is almost certain to be fired at the end of the season and the new GM isn’t likely going to be too concerned about Cassel’s future.
What do you think, Addicts? Should the Chiefs cut Cassel now and if they do, would you like to see him land with Haley in Pittsburgh?