Potential Jets: Matt Cassel

Kevin C. Cox

The Alex Smith trade probably makes Matt Cassel's days in Kansas City numbered. Cassel was already a likely cut candidate given that his salary was totally out of line with his production. Now that his replacement is acquired, it is a virtual guarantee his release will come.

Like Mark Sanchez, Cassel is a USC alum. Like fellow USC quarterbacks Sanchez and Matt Leinart, Cassel has been a subpar NFL quarterback. Unlike them, he has succeeded expectations. He was a career backup first for Carson Palmer then Leinart in college. He was selected in the sixth round by the Patriots and put together a nice 2008 season after Tom Brady tore his ACL, which led to the Chiefs to trade for him. That far surpasses what almost any other college backup has done.

When it comes to whether Cassel is a viable option for the Jets comes down to a simple question. Are the Jets seriously looking for an upgrade at the quarterback position? If the Jets want to figure out a way to give Mark Sanchez an umpteenth chance to be the starting quarterback, Cassel becomes a viable option. They can sell it to the media and fans as bringing in a quarterback to "compete" with Sanchez who "led" his team to an AFC West title in 2010. In reality, Cassel is so bad that he is one of the few current starting quarterbacks in the league who Sanchez could legitimately beat out for a starting job.

Cassel has looked adequate twice in his career. The first time was in that 2008 when he was coached by Josh McDaniels and put in the middle of the New England offense. The second was 2010 when he was coached by Charlie Weis. He had 27 touchdowns against 7 intereceptions, but the rest of his numbers were extremely pedestrian.

The last two years, his game has collapsed. He doesn't have the big arm to push it down the field. Pro Football Focus rates his deep ball accuracy virtually identical to that of Mark Sanchez. He freezes in the face of pressure and has one of the highest sack rates in the league. He is a turnover machine. He is not very accurate either. Since that 2008 season, he hasn't cracked the 60% rate completing his throws.

The Jets need to find a quarterback who can be better than Sanchez. Signing Cassel would just give the Jets two bad USC quarterbacks. They should pass.

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