Around The Web: Proving Time For Cassel, No. 1 #19, Bradley’s Fantasy Potential

Immediately following the announcement of Matt Cassel’s new contract, Eric Ortiz from NESN.com said that the quarterback’s new deal was well deserved.  This morning, Derek Zetlin — also from NESN — thinks Cassel still needs to prove he’s worthy of being called a franchise quarterback.

From the Chiefs’ perspective, it’s an interesting move.  They’ve now fully committed to Cassel for the long haul, having never seen him take even a preseason snap in a red and white uniform.  Was waiting until Week 6 to offer an extension really that outrageous, given the circumstance?

It’s especially intriguing because of the whispered myths surrounding Cassel’s former team, the New England Patriots.  Tom Brady haters have called him a “system quarterback” all decade long.  Though most — if not all — experts consider that notion more than foolish, Cassel’s immediate success in New England gave them some evidence with which to play.  They said that seemingly anyone could step in and win double-digit games for Bill Belichick, and Cassel did just that.  Again, not exactly a fair presumption.  But it’s still impossible to disprove at this point.

Another less painful way to judge the theory would be to see how Cassel performs in a non-New England uniform, which will happen less than nine weeks from now.  The assessment will be easy: If Cassel thrives in Kansas City, then he is in fact the real deal, thus justifying Brady’s excellence as well.  But if he stumbles, then perhaps the Brady naysayers have a legitimate argument.  It’s still not to say that it’s right, but their statement becomes less laughable.

Cassel went 10-5 as a starter in Brady’s absence last season.  And yet, because of the curious aura that surrounds Belichick’s signal-callers — mainly Brady — he’s still an unproven specimen when not playing under the reign of the hoodie, which begins now.

But what if the “system quarterback” theory is true? What if Bill Gates could win 10 games under center in New England?

If so, then Pioli and Co. may have just made a big, expensive mistake.

In the last few days I’ve noticed a few more people like Zetlin pop up, who think the Chiefs jumped the gun.  We’ve been over the options facing the Chiefs and I think they absolutely did the right thing.  If Cassel stinks up the joint then it was a $13 million dollar gamble gone wrong.  Sure a lot of money to gamble, but if he plays well then this contract will look like a bargain.  If this were still Carl Peterson — or any other GM without a history with Cassel — then I would be more worried.  But Pioli drafted Cassel and saw first hand how he went about his business last year so he should have a better read on the kid than any of us.

Over at Arrowhead Pride, Chris is counting up the best players to wear each jersey number.  Today he gets to #19 and believe it or not only two players have ever worn it.  I have a funny feeling Joe Montana is going to win this one over Cotton Davidson.JoeMontana1

Montana’s number in San Francisco was 16 but, of course, that number was already retired in the Ring of honor.  This Len Dawson guy wore it or something.  Here is what the Chiefs did for Montana before he came to Kansas City:

The Chiefs mailed three jerseys to Montana.  One was number 3, his number from Notre Dame.  Another was number 19, which he wore in little league and also briefly in training camp of the 1979 season with San Francisco, and the third was number 16, which Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson offered to let Montana wear since the organization had retired it.  Montana declined Dawson’s offer and wore 19 instead and signed a $10 million-dollar contract over three years.

Apparently, Montana chose #19 after adding his college number (3) to his long-time NFL number (16) . Matt Cassel did a similar thing with his #7 jersey.

I have been very clear how Derrick Thomas is my favorite Chief, but Joe Montana was the first NFL player I ever followed growing up.  He may have only spent two seasons in Kansas City, but his impact on the franchise cannot be properly measured.  Obviously he didn’t win a title, but “Montana Mania” spread to all parts of the country and put the Chiefs right smack into the mainstream.  AP posted a couple awesome videos, including the famous MNF duel between Montana and Elway… amazing stuff.

Yesterday, we took a look at Jamaal Charles as a fantasy football sleeper.  Today KFFL is back at it and Chiefs WR Mark Bradley is the target, though his prospects don’t look as promising as those of Charles.

He has a history of lower-body injuries and battled a calf problem last year.  The Bears cut him while he was healthy, signifying that they were running out of patience.  Sure, the Chiefs have all the patience in the world when it comes to their receivers, are there underlying attitude problems for Bradley?  The departure of Gonzalez may give more defensive attention toward Bradley, even if he doesn’t necessarily deserve it.  It’s hard to peg a ton of upside from half a season for a team desperate for receiver bodies.

Fantasy tip: While Bradley has an opportunity to step up his contribution, he hasn’t provided such evidence he could do so in the past.  He has been pegged as an underachiever throughout his whole career.  It’s tough to rely on him as anything more than a low-end No. 5, just for the unmet potential.  Still, his 17th-round price tag won’t ask for much of a commitment.

Someone is going to need to step up behind Dwayne Bowe and maybe it will be Bradley but until we know just how good this offense will be, I can’t recommend taking any Chiefs player very high.  Obviously if you get down into the late rounds and want to take a flier on Bradley as one of your backup WRs, go nuts.  But if you plan on counting on him every week, you could be in for a load of trouble.

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