When the Patriots lost quarterback Tom Brady to an injured knee in 2008, it seemed their season was over. Enter little-known Matt Cassel, who hadn’t started a football game since high school.
He went on to lead the team to an 11-5 record. More importantly to fantasy owners, Cassel become a viable starter.
His success in New England (and the return of Brady) led Cassel to Kansas City via trade, where he won just four games and finished 20th in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com.
Those numbers made people wonder if he was simply a result of the system in New England.
Well, Cassel should be in a great position to prove those people wrong in 2010.
The Chiefs added offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who should help Cassel improve and grow as an NFL quarterback. The team is also expected to add some offensive weapons to the duo of Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe during the offseason.
Cassel will also have heightened expectations due to his financial situation, as he’ll enter 2010 with the third-highest base salary at his position behind Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Drew Brees, who just led the Saints to a Super Bowl, is scheduled to make about $6.5 million.
If Cassel fails to make strides, he could be released after the season.
He’ll be due a $7.5 million option in 2011, which the Chiefs might not pay if Cassel doesn’t prove himself worthy of such a large bonus.
So it seems that 2010 is a make-or-break season for Cassel. And while I don’t think he’ll re-emerge into a regular starter, I do think he’ll be better under Weis and a more reliable No. 2 fantasy quarterback.