Matt Cassell will NOT be a San Francisco 49er in 2009

The latest news out of New England is that the Patriots have franchised QB Matt Cassel.  It's not exactly a shocking move as the Patriots find themselves in a bit of a sticky situation.  If Tom Brady is not 100% come late summer, the Patriots will require the services of Cassel.  If you're the New England Patriots, things could be a lot worse.  The best case scenario is that Brady is good to go by the start of the season.  They either trade Cassel for some picks, or he signs somewhere as a free agent...and the Patriots get some picks.

The worst case scenario could be one of two depending on how you view things: 1) Brady is hurt and the Patriots have to use Cassel or 2) Brady is healthy and they can't unload Cassel.  The second option is not so bad given that Cassel would be under a 1-year contract.

I chose the specific headline for this article because of some comments I've seen elsewhere.  I've noticed emails to various media types from 49ers fans inquiring about the chance of the team landing Cassel.  The one that tipped the scales for me was an email someone sent to Sando suggesting the 49ers sign Cassel for 6 years at 65-70 million and apparently a 20-25 million dollar signing bonus.

Now I realize this is just one person throwing out a suggestion, but I'm sorry, it's not going to happen.  Of course now, thanks to the power of the Internet, if the 49ers do go after Cassel this post will make me look foolish (so feel free to bookmark it!).  However, I just want to go on record as saying it just won't happen.

My reasons are pretty simple.  Cassel was the starting QB in New England this past season and had one heck of a season.  He threw for 3,693 yards with a 63.4% completion percentage, 21 TDs, 11 INTs and a QB rating of 89.4.  Nonetheless, it's his only starting experience since high school.  Color me a little skeptical.

There has been some discussion about the system in New England and that makes me just a little bit more nervous.  Even if a deal could be arranged that just involved second round picks, is it worth it knowing you'll also be forking over a big, fat contract?

One other quick point I wanted to make will likely ruffle the feathers of some folks here.  While I'm a fan of Shaun Hill being the short term answer at QB, I realize some people disagree.  However, I wanted to throw some info out there just for comparison's sake.

Cassel: 327/516, 3,693 yards, 63.4%, 7.16 YPA, 21 TDs, 11 INTs, 89.4 QB rating

Hill: 181/288, 2,046 yards, 62.8%, 7.10 YPA, 13 TDs, 8 INTs, 87.5 QB rating

Now I realize statistics don't project out perfectly and to do so can be some serious cherry-picking.  But it's the middle of February and I want to do it anyways.  The numbers project rather well.  The area where Hill projects much worse is interceptions.  However, he projects for pretty similar yards and more touchdowns.  Not exactly the science of Florida Danny, but arguably a little more remedial.

However, the point I'm making is in the value of what the team would have.  The talk surrounding Matt Cassel has been about an Aaron Rodgers-type of contract (6 years, $65M).  And we can't forget the draft pick(s) involved.  On the other hand we've got Shaun Hill.  Hill signed a 3-year deal for $6 million prior to this past season.  It included a $2 million signing bonus and playing time incentives that could max out the package at $11.5 million.

The draft pick comparison would be the "QB of the future" taken in the middle rounds.  I suppose one could argue Matt Cassel is more of a sure thing, but even that's questionable.  So conceivably (and I do stress the conceivably), you could be comparing 6 years, $65M and a 2nd round pick or worst case a pair of first rounders for a potential 1-year wonder, with Hill's contract, a rookie's contract (we won't consider Alex Smith in this equation for now) and the 3rd-5th round pick you used on that rookie. 

Now that's all just something I'm throwing out there off the top of my head.  If you don't like Shaun Hill for the short term, maybe you've got some other ideas.  Whatever those ideas are (minus those who would name JTO the starting QB again), I think they're better than breaking the bank for Matt Cassel.  Consider me on record with that.

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