Trade for Buffalo: Cassel is hardly a good quarterback, but he still instantly becomes the best quarterback on the Bills’ roster. They had a desperate need at the quarterback position after veteran Kyle Orton retired, leaving them with 2013 1st round bust EJ Manuel. Aside from a disastrous 2012 season in Kansas City, Cassel has been solid in his career. In his career, he’s completed 59.0% of his passes for an average of 6.64 YPA, 96 touchdowns, and 70 interceptions.
In the last season he saw significant action, Cassel completed 60.2% of his passes for an average of 7.11 YPA, 11 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions in 2013, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 28th ranked quarterback out of 42 eligible, not terrible, which is really all the Bills are looking for at this point. Sure, Cassel is going into his age 33 season, coming off of a lost season with injury, and completed just 57.7% of his passes for an average of 5.99 YPA, 3 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions before going down last season, but he’s still better than almost every quarterback available in free agency this off-season.
The price the Bills paid for Cassel wasn’t much, a 4.75 million dollar salary and cap number in 2015, a 2016 7th round pick, and a swap of a 2015 5th round pick for a 2015 6th round pick. It’s certainly better than the 6.25 million guaranteed the Browns gave Josh McCown, who the Bills were also interested in this off-season. It’s comparable to or better than giving this same kind of money to the likes of Mark Sanchez and Brian Hoyer in free agency. I don’t love the move for the Bills, but it’s kind of the move they had to make.
Trade for Minnesota: Minnesota comes out the winner here, though both sides should be happy with this deal. Cassel wasn’t worth 4.75 million to them given that Teddy Bridgewater, their 2014 1st round pick, broke out as their quarterback of the future in Cassel’s absence last season, completing 64.4% of his passes for an average of 7.26 YPA, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. There’s a very good chance they were planning on making him a salary cap casualty so credit the Vikings for getting something for him and freeing up a good amount of cap space. The Vikings can find a backup for Bridgewater at less than half of Cassel’s salary.