ProFootballTalk.com - Still No Interest In Unsigned Franchise Players Seems to me that seeing how Peppers and Sproles are STILL unsigned, this gives more creedance than ever before that Belichick was wise to move quickly on unloading Cassel & Vrabel with the Chiefs for a 2nd rounder, even though waiting for Cassel to come to a long term agreement with another team might well have resulted in a 1st round pick. Sure, we've all seen that a pro-bowl QB already signed to a 3 year contract for low money is worth a 1st and 3rd round pick in trade. That type of player signed to that type of deal is understandably worth more than a QB with 1 year as a starter, who fairly or unfairly might still have questions since he had the benefit of playing with Welker and Moss. Add to that the fact he was signed only to a 1 year contract at nearly $15 million and one might begin to think we were LUCKY to get a 2nd for Cassel in comparison. Of course, the fact that Cassel signed the tender meant that the Pats could force a trade as long as the receiving team were willing to accept that one year $15 million deal. But given that fact, ultimately the number of teams in the NFL that: 1. Had a need at QB 2. Had a strong interest in Cassel and 3. Had the cap space to accept Cassel at 1 year $15 million (and Vrabel for a total of $19 million) without otherwise impacting their ability to be active in free agency too ... ...probably wasn't the longest list to start. And while Cassel could have been traded to another team, IF both he and the team were willing to negotiate a long-term contract that was of enough guaranteed value to make it worth it to Cassel (compared to the $15 million this year and more than that next year either as a free agent or 2nd year franchise player) - that's a pretty big "IF" which could likely have taken awhile to get ironed out. (And let's not forget the "IF" of reaching an agreement not just with Cassel but also with Belichick on compensation.) Indeed, Peppers and Sproles are able to have the same negotiations with teams as it now stands and seemingly haven't been able to get that done. And what about Vrabel you ask? Why was he part of this deal? Well in hindsight it's clear Belichick wasn't going to bring Vrabel back at $4.3 million this season. He's good - and a contributor - but clearly didn't meet that salary value for the Patriots. So that means Belichick could cut him, or trade him (or attempt to renegotiate - which if that failed, we'd be back to possibly having to cut him). So why not cut him? You might as well as, "Why not send him to the Jets, Dolphins, Bills - or another AFC title contender?" Including Vrabel in the trade ensured that Vrabel wouldn't go to a rival, and may have done Vrabel the favor of sending him to the one team that could afford his full $4.3 million - likely more than he'd get as a free agent. So, not to belabor the point, rather than risking a drawn out salary negotiation between Cassel and other teams that, if it dragged on half as long as Peppers and Sproles situation, would have devastated the Patriots free agency plans, Belichick opted to trade Cassel and Vrabel to the one team that could take thgem both immediately, without any need for drawn out salary negotiations which could well have bogged down or ultimately prevented a trade that would have held the Patriots hostage. Had that happened we'd be openly and rightly critical of Belichick's serious gamble to move up a dozen or so draft spots from a sure fire quick trade for #34. Seems to make sense to me... though apparently not to everyone else.