Chicago Sun-Times

Exploring the Matt Cassel Sweepstakes; Do the Bears fit in?

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Matt Cassel speculation in Boston is reaching a fevered pitch after the career backup turned star received notification New England would place the franchise tag on him Thursday and then reportedly faxed a letter to the team Saturday accepting terms of the $14.65 million, one-year contract.

Hey, who wouldn't go for a $14 million raise in a heartbeat? Cassel might be the player most overjoyed by being tagged--ever. No one could blame him.

But it puts the Patriots in a situation where their salary cap of $123 million will be weighted down by $29.27 million committed to two players--Cassel and fellow quarterback Tom Brady. That's 23.7 percent of the cap in two players, and only one of them can play at a time.

Brady's returning from multiple knee surgeries and the wait is on to see what the next move is. Some believe Cassel will be traded. Some believe he's there to stay as insurance. The excellent blog run by Mike Reiss over at the Boston Globe touches all the bases.

Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post also took a close look at the possibilities, naming the Bears as one of eight teams obvious teams who could jump into the Cassel Sweepstakes. There's been great debate over what New England would demand in return for him. Some have suggested it would surely take a first-round pick. Others have theorized he could be had for a second-round pick that would improve to a first based on performance. It's all speculation at this point.

Lombardi, who names Detroit and Minnesota as other possible suitors, basically says the Bears are a long shot to even be in the conversation:

"At some point, the Bears will have to address their quarterback situation. There were times last season when Kyle Orton appeared to have a good handle on things, but after sustaining an ankle injury, he was not the same productive player. The Bears need a marquee player on offense, someone they can build around and make all the other pieces fit. They need someone they do not have to manage but who can run a complete offense. The need is there, but I doubt the Bears will be serious players. They have the 18th pick in the first round, but they hate to part with picks."

I've got to agree with Lombardi. 100 percent. General manager Jerry Angelo holds on to his draft picks for dear life. Based on all the comments made by those associated with the organization lately, Angelo included, the Bears want to give Orton the opportunity to be the man. That plan wouldn't mix with trading Cassel and Part 2 of that move--signing Cassel to a longterm contract.

Those who are weary of Cassel's future point out that he was surrounded by some of the top offensive talent in the league--a stout offensive line with terrific targets in Randy Moss and Wes Welker and some solid role players. Thrown him into an offense without similar firepower, the Bears' for instance, and maybe you don't get the same production. Maybe you're not even close.

They're watching it closely in Boston but the chances of connecting the dots to Halas Hall, well, those are a longshot at this point.

*** Today is the first day NFL teams can release players that are under contract.

*** So you really think wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh might be interested in coming to the Bears? NFL shopping season will be upon us soon as free agency begins Feb. 27 and the longtime standout in Cincinnati is canvassing the country via radio airwaves.

Houshmandzadeh visited with Waddle & Silvy last week on WMVP-AM, ESPN 1000 and was asked in a variety of ways about his interest in joining a team so badly in need of help at the position. Houshmandzadeh balked at just about every opportunity to say he'd love to come to town.

Then, he took to the radio in Philadelphia on ESPN Radio 950 and not only said he'd be interested in the Eagles, he went on to say how much he liked and respected Donovan McNabb. It's stronger than anything he said here.

"If the Eagles are interested in me, let's put it like this: If they'll be interested in me, I'll be interested in them,'' Houshmandzadeh said.

When it came to quarterbacks and the Bears, Houshmandzadeh said he liked Rex Grossman. Oh well.

The Bengals could still exercise the franchise tag on Houshmandzadeh, but that would cost them nearly $10 million.

*** Bears linebacker Lance Briggs led all defensive players with six tackles in the NFC's 30-21 victory over the AFC in Sunday's Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. He was the Bears' lone representative.

As a member of the winning team, Briggs pulled down $45,000 for the game. The AFC players received half, $22,500 each.

*** Former Bears defensive coordinator Vince Tobin, the man who replaced Buddy Ryan, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Saturday. Tobin was a standout at the University of Missouri.


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25 Comments

Don't be an idiot angelo...give up the 18 pick and go get Cassel. Your going to blow that pick anyway on a OL with a bad back or a RB who can't run or even a WR who can't make a team that doesn't even have a legit #1 WR. Then and only then would you be able to go get T.J. and the offence would be fine.

Bear-a-holic go to rehab the Bears will not spend on Cassel too expensive especially since they think they have a QB T.J. is Muhammad all over again he is in his 30's short term fix and he was next to Ocho-Cinco was it really him? T.J. is not a game breaker too expensive for possesion reciever. Lay off the kool-aid.

don't be an idiot. of course the bears will not go after cassels. they had rex and a chance for a proven player in warner but passed. they had already made up their mind. the bears make up their mind based on hope and do not go out of their way to get the best players they can and let it play out accordingly. (they say they do but their actions speaks volumes) why would they learn from their past qb blunders? they like orton now. they want to see if he will deliver. same mistake as with rex. pin your hopes on a quy with question markr and pass on a proven winner. sounds like the same old bears making the same old mistakes.

get cassels, get him 2 wide outs and live in the moment instead of always waiting to see if the guy you think will pan out.

they don't get it. they live for the future meanwhile the teams that want to win now play the best players. read arizona. hello. wake up bears.

how can the owners stand this type of sloppy management?

I'm just curious if you guys who are calling for Cassel have actually ever watched him play? He has played one season of football since high school. Threw the ball to three starting caliber WR's (two of which are pro-bowl quality), had a very good pass blocking o-line and has a solid running game. And the main complaint against Cassel was the he would not and could not throw deep. Oh, and he takes a lot of sacks and he ran the ball when he should have thrown it. The guy is a little more mobile and little less accurate Orton and he'll cost 4 times as much. He lit up bad pass defense and struggled against good teams (sounds a little like Orton this year, huh?).

I watched every Cassel game this season, live in NE but a Bears fan, and he's a product of that system. If you think he's a good investment, go back and read about Scott Mitchell, Steve Bono and other guys who did well in a strong system and turned that into a huge payday. The Pats are willing to trade Cassel because they know they're selling high on a guy that they're not committed to and they have another guy just like him in O'Connell from SDSU.

Please, stop calling for Cassel.

Lance Briggs is definitely one of the leagues, if not the, best weak side backer, and leading all defensive players in tackles goes a long way in proving this.

Some may disagree, but I have a feeling the Bears are going to try and upgrade their linebacking core, probably the strong side position. I've already read that the Bears had their eyes on Oklahoma linebacker/safety tweener Nic Harris at the senior bowl, who has nice size for the linebacker position at the next level 6-2 233lbs. I found out that the Bears were also scouting another linebacking prospect at the senior bowl, I think the fact they were scouting more than one linebacker might be a strong indication their gonna go that direction at some point in the draft. Zack Follett of California was the other linebacker the Bears had their eyes on, the 6-1 231lbs Follett has been called a punishing tackler by scouts, and Chicago needs some ferocity at their linebacking position to maybe get back to their monster of the midway rep. Scouts also say Follett has a knack for getting to the QB, this season Follett had 10.5 sacks, in 2007 6.5 sacks, and in 2006 5.5 sacks. This season Follett was all-Pac 10 first team with 23 TFL, and also broke up four passes and forced five fumbles. Lovie Smith loves players with the ability to force fumbles. Follett is a projected 3-4 rounder, the more I read up on him, the more I think he might look good next to Urlacher & Briggs, especially with his ability to cover, force fumbles, and rush the passer. GO BEARS!!

Cassell is over rated and way over priced..... To those that think he is worth $14 million a year and a 1st round draft pick and more,,,,,,,,God Bless You!!!! Look at his stats compared to Orton.. Alarmingly similar.... And oh yeah how about the fact that he is throwing to a future Hall of Fame WR Randy Moss,,,, and oh yeah that other guy,,,,, Wes Welker ProBowl selection that had over 1200 yards and is one of the smartest WRs in the game and runs unreal routes. Not to mention NE playcalling.... Who would you rather have call the plays?? Turner or Josh McDaniels newly named head coach. That's what I thought. So although it is easy to be the nay-sayer and throw stones at Orton,,, Cassell is definitely not the right move...

No way the Bears go for Cassel.

Actually it would be fun to see this backfire on New England. With an existing 1 year deal for $14mil, there is no half way decision for the francise that takes Cassel. You would be giving up draft picks and negotiating a contract that will be in Manning/Brady territory. Nobody is going make that commitment just to bring the dude in to compete. The only way it would work is to say he's the man, period, for several years.

New England is saying to the league, "OK we're betting $14 million somebody is going to be stupid. We know at least one of y'all are dumb enough to give up a one or a two and watch us come out smelling like a rose yet again." It would be really great to see them stuck with paying Cassel that kind of money to carry a clipboard.

Kevin I agree with you about Briggs and the fact that we need to upgrade the strong side, but this is not a huge need right now. I would rather see an OL, WR and Free safety drafted before this. If your boy Follet is still there in 3 or 4 they should pull the trigger. Nic Roach is not good, and Hunter is smart and knows the system and should be a back up if we sign a rookie.
Cassel is a system QB at best, also a one year wonder like Anderson last season.

GO BEARS.

I have always thought Cassel to the Bears would make sense if the right pieces were included. The Pats have a history of trading with the Bears as well. How about Cassel to the Bears for Brian U. and a second rounder?

MS,
And another great decision by Cassel's agent to make sure he signs the tender right away so he is guaranteed that money no matter what happens. If the team that trades for him does not want to sign him to a long-term deal, he still gets $14mil....Not a bad thing for a guy with his limited experience. He'll make Matt Schaub look like a bargain before it's done.

Will Pioli give up his first rounder for Cassel? I don't think so. With the 3rd pick, he could get anyone he wanted. Why would he want Cassel? If the market is lukewarm, I bet the Pats sign him to a front loaded 5 year deal for a lot less money, but he still gets his 14 mil over the next 24 months, and they cut him after that.

Our QB competition will be what we have on the roster. The only change will be a late draft pick or Patrick Ramsey signed to a free agent deal. Angelo loved him early in his career, and will hang on to that a lot longer than he should. If Orton doesn't step up this year, we draft a rookie next year, and work on developing another guy. What a plan!

Hey PatsFan,

That's a great idea! We could probably toss in Olsen and Hester too.

You have more important things to do. You are probably not quite finished installing bugs in the NFL draft war rooms across the country. Then you need to file those hidden camera tapes of other team's practices. You haven't even started interviewing convicts to run your little snow tractors.

Get out of our space.

PatsFan,

sure, we will gladly trade our best player for a fluke one-year wonder Cassel!!!

Go back to your little spy room!!!

Bears, do not trade for this guy...let's see what he can do without quality WR's and a line...this also means that Orton is the man...

Bears, go after a heavy d-lineman like Haynesworth, and then try to draft Jeremy Maclin...

just suggesting...

GO BEARS!!!

Cassell is certainly worth a number two and flipping the first round picks, provided that works for the Pats. I I were Angelo and could get that deal I do it in a heartbeat. Then let Cassell and Orton compete. Cassell is better than anyone the Bears could get in the draft. With even a slight upgrade in WR and pass rush, the winner should be able to give the Bears a respectable offense. Cassell might make them very good. He is more accurate and athletic than Orton.

but the Bears will probably not do that, they will probably give Orton one more year to get better. In that case, and if he doesn't, and if Hanie and the kid from NU are not the answer, pull out the stops for Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford in the 2010 draft.

Tomk4054, I agree 100% with your listed team needs, OL, WR, and FS. I just meant I think Chicago might address the linebacker position at some point in the draft. Here is how I would like to see the draft go, as of right now, pre-freeagency.

1st Eben Britton OT Arizona 6-6 310lbs
2nd Rashad Johnson FS Alabama 6-0 196lbs
3rd Brian Robiskie WR Ohio st 6-2 207lbs
4th Zack Follett LB California 6-1 231lbs
5th Sammie Lee Hill DT Stillman 6-4 330lbs
7th Travis McCall FB Alabama 6-2 276lbs

Tomk4054, in the first Eben Britton would be a no brainer if he is available, and Chicago doesn't sign a free agent tackle like Jordan Gross. I like Rashad Johnson in the second, I realize Angelo might give Danieal Manning a shot at free safety, but Chicago should still bring in another prospect at the position, you don't want to go into the season with just one true free safety on the roster. In the third, I like Robiskie for his size, 6-2, and Robiskie has nice hands, he might be a sleeper for a couple reasons. First, Robiskie might slip in the draft because his numbers faded with a freshman QB, 37 catches for 419 yds, and 8tds. As compared to last season, 55 catches for 935 yards, and 11 tds. What do I like the most about his number the last two seasons? 11tds in 07 and 8tds in 08, the guy can find the endzone. Robiskie might also slip because of his 40 time 4.6 to a slow 4.5. Robiskie might be a lot better than a lot of peope think.

A sleeper free safety I would take later on if Chicago doesn't get Rashad Johnson in the second is North Carolina's Trimane Goddard, 6-0 196lbs, I think he is gonna be another sleeper who might not have the measurables [fast 40-great size] but has a knack for the big play. This season Goddard was a second team all-american with 7 ints and 5 pass breakups. Became starter the second half of his sophomore season, and had 3 ints. Goddard was a red shitred junior because of a broken foot, which isn't as serious as ligament damage. Kevin Payne came back with no problems after a broken bone. Again, guys like Goddard and Robiskie may slip because they don't have the pretty measurables of other prospects, but their play on the field was legit, and in the end, thats the most important thing GO BEARS!!

By MsBearsFan on February 9, 2009 12:54 PM
Hey PatsFan,

That's a great idea! We could probably toss in Olsen and Hester too.

You have more important things to do. You are probably not quite finished installing bugs in the NFL draft war rooms across the country. Then you need to file those hidden camera tapes of other team's practices. You haven't even started interviewing convicts to run your little snow tractors.

Get out of our space.

history will come to view belicik and his dynasty in a fond way. almost nostalgic. people can suggest that belicik's actions were uncharecteristic of nfl coaches in general. i don't mean to imply two wrongs make a right, but video taping had been going on for years before the patriots got called on it. as far as the convict on the snow plow...theres a story worth repeating to his grandkids!

HERON25 is correct The Pats had a great Oline and great WR's as well, neither of which the Bears posses.
Kevin, I agree, as I think this year is loaded with Linebackes? but I am thinking the Bears might try to kill 2 birds with a LB that could double as a DE.

All you Bear's fans need to come to reality quick. You have nothing and when we gift you the 2nd best QB in NE you will probably muck that up as well. God luck to you if you think Brain U is going to win you a SB. At least with Cassel you might have an offense that will give you a chance to win.

Kevin that mock looks good. It really is that easy, but Angelo has a way of complicating things.

GO BEARS.

Cassel isn't worth the money. He took like one of the best offenses all time the year before and made them into a decent one. Big deal.


The Bears should trade Urlacher for Boldin. Give Orton another option to throw the ball to.

Whats with all you people wanting cassel?does Derek Anderson ring any bells, everyone wanted to bring anderson over here last offseason and look where he ended up! Your not a proven commodity until you've done it two seasons in a row, until then its just a gamble. The Pats are smart b/c they know someone will trade for him and they will over pay for him bigtime cuz of that franchise tag they slapped on him. Dont be dumb its the Patriots there sneaky and conniving, and they know someone or some team will be dumb enought to do so

Trade Goon, for Boldin or OCHO or Cassell, we most likely lose Goon after this year anyway. WE have some young guys on the D line with Anderson, Israel Indonjie, Baldwin etc. I really like the idea of picking one of the best linebackers at #18, two have very special talent if they drop to #18 either of the middle linebackers from USC or OSU. Develop one in the middle over time and move Urlacher around a little to the Strong side Linebacker sometime, up to D End for a few snaps a game to rush the passer, back to middle etc.

The Bears need some creativity on D because the talent is pretty good and I would love to see Urlacher flying from sideline to sideline and rushing the passer more than he has for a hell of a long time. Maybe Urlacher could turn into a stud Defensive End, he certainly has the strength and speed to do it and you get a young star middle linebacker in the draft.

the owners can put up with the people managing the team because idots keep paying these big ticket prices to see a mediocre team!!! until that stops why should the bears spend any money on players. im about ready to give up on this crappy gm and coach. its so disappointing watching a team you know can be really good if you added some key players in some key places, BUT THEY NEVER SPEND THE FRIGGIN MONEY!!! its always the same crap coming out of jerry's mouth about were gonna spend the money in house. jerry oyuve done this for how many years now and it hasnt helped....look jerry, realize this...you keep paying players that AREN'T helping the team!!!yo lovie you need to start showing some kind of emotion out there, you remind me of a corpse propped up on the sideline. if you want the fans on oyur side this coming year lovie, take a page from ditkas book....SHOW SOME FRIGGIN EMOTION, SHEEESH! START ACTING LIKE THE BEARS OF OLD AND NOT THE PUSSYCATS OF NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry for Trolling guys... Best of luck to the Bears in 09. Hopefully you get the players you need. I don't think Cassel is what your team needs right now. As much as i want to see Cassel as a starter some where he needs to be put on a team that just needs a driver. I am not sure if some teams would see him as a leader.

You guys wanted Cassell need to wake up. The guy has played one year since high school. Ever heard of Scott Mitchell? Plenty of players have had a good year, just to sign a huge deal and be a bust. Look at Derek Anderson last season. Besides, if Orton had a catching machine and fantastic route runner like Welker and Randy Moss to just throw the ball up to, he would have had a much better season then Cassell. Try comparing their stats from last year. I'm not crazy about Orton either, but to give up our #1 pick and throw a ton of money at a guy with our receiving "weapons", would just be another bad move by the Bears.

Spend the money of either Peppers, Gross, Housh or Boldin and draft to fill the rest.

To all you folks who think Cassell is only a mediocre quarterback... Talk in New England is that Cassell has all the skills: arm, mobility, brains, good vision. The Pats haven't kept this guy around for years for nothing. Bradey"s best days may be behind him. And by the way... Pats fans know Bradey has made costly mistakes in the past. Bradey has been a hero to Pats fans but Cassell is the future. I want to see what Cassell can do next year with a better running game and improved defense. Pats have to see if Tom is healthy... then trade him!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 9, 2009 6:25 AM.

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