Monday, March 2, 2009

Trade Center: NFL

Usually when we think of trades in the NFL we think of War Room deals that take place during April's draft. This year we've already seen a few deals go down as the off season period commenced. We are going to analyze the trades and evaluate how each team did.

The Deal: Vikings trade a 4th round pick to the Texans for QB Sage Rosenfels

Texans: Sage Rosenfels wasn't going to supplant Matt Schaub as a starter so the Texans did a good job getting value for him. Though a 4th round pick isn't a huge addition Houston should be able to find a solid contributor in that round.

Vikings: While Rosenfels won't make Minnesota fans forget about Fran Tarkenton, he will be a major upgrade to the quarterback position. His arrival will push Tarvaris Jackson to the bench and Gus Frerotte out the door. Rosenfels should be a solid starter for the Vikings.

Winner: Both teams won here. The Texans got value for a player they didn't need and the Vikings now have a passing game to go along with Adrian Peterson.

The deal: New England Patriots trade Franchise QB Matt Cassel and OLB Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2nd round pick (34th overall)

Chiefs: Kansas City did a good job getting two starters for only an early 2nd round pick. Cassel should upgrade the 20th ranked pass offense, and is a better option than relying on a rookie. Having Cassel entrenched as a starter allows the Chiefs to focus on another need with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Cassel will need to prove he's not a product of the Patriots system but should benefit from head coach Todd Haley's pass first offense. While Cassel grabs the headlines of this deal the real prize could very well be Mike Vrabel. The Chiefs defense was awful last season finishing 31st in yards allowed. The Chiefs pass rush was non-existent in 2008 managing only 10 sacks. Vrabel should help the team on both accounts. He may no longer be the dominate pass rusher he was in 2007, when he had 12.5 sacks, but he will be a welcome improvement. His leadership and experience can only help this unit.

Patriots: New England did receive an early 2nd round pick for Cassel and Vrabel, but the real value the Patriots received was cap room. By making the trade the Patriots cleared over $15 million dollars in cap space and should now be able to be an active team in free agency. New England also did a good job getting value out of a player they didn't really need in Cassel, as Tom Brady is the starting quarterback. The problem with the deal is two fold; one: trading away a veteran leader like Vrabel can have repercussions on the field and in the locker room, two: by having that money tied up, even for just two days, kept the Patriots from trying to sign a number of top players. Losing Vrabel creates a hole at linebacker which was already a position of need. In terms of Cassel getting only a 2nd round pick is a pretty low return for a "Franchise player". It brings to mind the question that maybe it wasn't a good idea to Franchise Cassel in the first place since they weren't able to get a comparable value for him. The money they had tied up in Cassel could have gone into linebackers like Bart Scott or Michael Boley, a cornerback like Domonique Foxworth, and any one of the guards that have signed.

Winner: Kansas City has to be the big winner here. They added a solid young quarterback with upside and a veteran linebacker for only a 2nd round pick. Cassel alone should have been worth at least that much. The Chiefs did a great job not overpaying for a "Franchise player".

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