The Minnesota Vikings agreed to trade quarterback Matt Cassel to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for two undisclosed draft picks on March 4.
The Minnesota Vikings have traded quarterback Matt Cassel to the Buffalo Bills.
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According to Chris Brown of the Bills' official website, the Minnesota Vikings agreed to trade Cassel and a draft pick to Buffalo in exchange for two undisclosed draft selections. With the swap, the Bills now have six draft selections in the 2015 NFL draft from April 30 to May 2.
Cassel will provide stability to a Bills quarterback corps which also features third-year pro E.J. Manuel, per The Buffalo News' Jay Skurski. Manuel started the first four games of the 2014 NFL season, but was benched the rest of the way in favor of veteran Kyle Orton. The latter announced his retirement at season's end, says ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter Mike Rodak.
The ESPN update points out the Bills had been scouring the league for a veteran quarterback to replace Orton. Prior to landing Cassel, they were eyeing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown, who has since inked a three-year, $14 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.
On the other hand, Rodak says Cassel's trade leaves a void in the Vikings' quarterback rotation. Second-year man Teddy Bridgewater is still penciled to start but has no suitable backup. Christian Ponder is expected to test the market while Pat Devlin, who is still with the team's practice squad, is the only other quarterback on Minnesota's roster.
Cassel was initially pegged as Ponder's backup two seasons ago and ended up starting six games for the Vikings in 2013. He then started three games for Minnesota last season but broke his foot in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, prompting head coach Mike Zimmer to tap Bridgewater instead, per Rodak.
Cassel began his NFL career 10 years ago as Tom Brady's backup with the New England Patriots. This went on until 2008, when Brady sat out the rest of that season due to a knee injury. Cassel asserted himself as the starting quarterback, going 10-5 while passing for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during that stretch, per Skurski.
He played so well New England "used their franchise tag on him," Skurski adds. Had he signed it, he would have been given a one-year, $14.65 million deal. He didn't, so the Patriots traded him and a second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City signed him to a six-year deal worth $63 million. Skurski stresses Cassel played four years of that deal and earned $46 million in the process before the Chiefs released him three years ago. During his stint in Kansas City, he amassed 9,459 yards, 59 touchdowns and 44 picks. Cassel shone brightly during the 2010 NFL playoffs, throwing for 3,116 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
The Cassel acquisition comes just a day after the Bills agreed to trade linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for star running back LeSean McCoy. ESPN's Adam Schefter first broke the news on Tuesday.
A source told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Wednesday that McCoy was not pleased with the trade, citing he has played football in Pennsylvania his entire life. The source said,"He's a Pennsylvania kid. He's never played football oustide of Pennsylvania -- high school, college, pro. So of course he's not happy."
As for Alonso, who played in all 16 games during his rookie year in 2013 but missed all of last season due to a torn ACL, he is due to take the field again in 2015 as his rehab has gone well, per a league source who told ESPN's Adam Caplan. Alonso finished third in the league in total tackles two years ago with 159.
Cassel still has a year left on his Vikings contract and is set to earn $4.75 million in 2015. According to Skursky, the additions of Cassel and McCoy will reduce the Bills' salary-cap space to $12.833 million. Both trades can only be made official at 4 p.m. ET on March 10, the first day of the 2015 league year.
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