Bills Trade for QB Matt Cassel
After a huge blockbuster trade last night for LeSean McCoy, the Buffalo Bills continued to make waves on Wednesday by trading for Vikings QB Matt Cassel. Minnesota will sent Cassel and an undisclosed draft pick to Buffalo for two undisclosed draft picks. Reports indicate that the Bills are sending picks that are not in this year's draft.
The 32-year old QB from USC has been in the league since 2005. Buffalo's current situation under center is considered one of the most tumultuous in the whole league. With 3rd year player EJ Manuel proving lackluster in his 14 starts and veteran Kyle Orton retiring after this season, Buffalo needs to find an option for their passing game.
The Bills went 9-7 with a decidedly anemic offense last season, even with the infusion of dynamic rookie WR Sammy Watkins. Reports indicate that Manuel responded well to having Orton, a well seasoned veteran, around the locker room. It is possible that the Bills' front office is expecting Cassel to be present in a veteran/tutor role, as well as be capable of starting if needed.
Cassel started Minnesota's first 3 games this past season and suffered greatly. His 4-interception, 17.2 QBR performance in Week 2 against the Patriots ended up being the dagger in Cassel's career as a Viking. Nevertheless, Cassel went 1-2 in his 2014 starts. Compare that to Manuel who went 2-2 in Buffalo before getting benched in favor of Orton.
Minnesota drafted Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick in 2014's first round, and Cassel served as a mentor for the young signal caller as he grew into the NFL. Bridgewater finished his season with the only positive ranking from Pro Football Focus of all rookie quarterbacks, earning 15th best among all QBs with a score of 4.5. Cassel can act as the mentor again for EJ Manuel, but with Manuel having large question marks surrounding his career, that is probably not why Buffalo is bringing in Cassel.
All signs point to a position battle at quarterback between Cassel and Manuel this coming summer. With the addition of McCoy, as well as the recent signing of G Richie Incognito, Buffalo's offense only needs a quarterback who can hand-off to McCoy or Fred Jackson (or Anthony Dixon, or Bryce Brown) and occasionally hit Watkins on a slant pattern down field. Buffalo's approach to the QB position may not be orthodox this year, but it may not have to be.