Cliff Notes: Cassel, Waters and Taylor

Cliff Notes are back as Pat Clifton discusses media reaction to the Matt Cassel trade, Brian Waters' trade demand, and Jason Taylor's recent release.

Presumably because a pulled pork sandwich wasn't available from Arthur Bryant's barbecue joint, the New England Patriots settled for a mere second-round draft pick in a blockbuster trade with Kansas City. Sorry, but something smells here, and it's not the beans and potato salad.

- Jay Mariotti, and ESPN's Around the Horn.

Honestly, I don't read much of Mariotti's stuff, but it seems like he doesn't leave his ridiculous, shock-inducing opinions behind when he walks off the set of Around the Horn. While it may seem one-sided in favor of the Chiefs at a glance, the deal sending Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for the 34th overall pick is anything but.

Prior to shedding the contracts of Vrabel and Cassel, the Patriots had little cap room to work with, and that doesn't bode well for a team reportedly in talks with the Panthers for Julius Peppers. The Pats will need all the money they can get if they intend to bring in Peppers, and an extra draft pick gives them another bargaining chip.

Another reason the Pats didn't get the short end of this stick deals with Tom Brady's health. Once it became apparent Brady's recovery was on track, the Pats had to get rid of Cassel. No team can realistically afford to have 25 percent of their budget tied up in two players of the same position. By even fielding offers for Cassel, the Patriots were saying they believed Brady was going to be okay, thus giving away their leverage in negotiation because every potential suitor knew New England couldn't afford to keep Cassel.

It appears Vrabel was mainly part of the deal because New England wanted him there. Sure, the Chiefs needed linebackers (as they still do), but they didn't necessarily need a 34-year old linebacker who only has one year left on his contract. Vrabel gives Kansas City a veteran leader who can help with the transition to a 3-4, but the Pats helped themselves by unloading his $4 million salary.

While I give Mariotti props for reminding his readers that Kansas City has some serious barbecue, I think he missed the mark with his comments on the Cassel/Vrabel trade. Plus, I've never had the pulled pork at Bryant's, and I'm not even sure they serve it. Maybe he should have referred to their signature burnt end sandwich instead.

The Buffalo Bills are interested in trading for disgruntled Kansas City Chiefs guard Brian Waters, according to a trusted source. The Bills, in the market for a new left guard after releasing Derrick Dockery on Thursday, could be looking to land the four-time Pro Bowler for a deal similar to the Marcus Stroud trade last year, when they gave up third and fifth round draft picks. Waters has become disenchanted with the additions to the Chiefs organization. According to Kansas City Star writer Jason Whitlock, Waters asked for his release after new general manager Scott Pioli said he had no interest.

- Pat Moran,

I'll begin with Buffalo's possible interest in Brian Waters - duh. Who wouldn't want this guy, especially a team with a young quarterback to protect and a stud running back to pave the way for like the Bills? If Kansas City makes the mistake of parting ways with Waters, the Bills would be smart to grab him. Hopefully, Pioli could coax them into giving up at least a second-round pick for the Pro Bowl guard.

Secondly, what is going on with Waters? I don't want to make any gross assumptions about what may or may not have happened, but what we do know is we've only heard one side of the story so far, and that's probably all we're going to hear. I can't see Pioli or Haley addressing this issue at all, and Haley outright declined when given the opportunity during Monday's press conference.

If everything in Whitlock's column was fact without any framing or twisting out of context, then Pioli should have opened his door for the consummate pro and Haley should have probably used more delicate language. However, we have neither a recording of the conversation nor a transcription of Pioli's private comments.

With the Chiefs' recent acquisitions of Cassel and Vrabel and their reported interest in Ray Lewis, Kansas City may be closer to competing than Buffalo, so Waters may be better off in Kansas City. With as many needs as the Chiefs have, Haley, Pioli, and Cassel would all be better off with Waters on the roster. Maybe both sides will recognize what's best for them and reconcile.

The Redskins released defensive end Jason Taylor today. The team had wanted to add a clause to Taylor's contract that would have required him to participate in offseason workouts at Redskins Park for a bonus believed to be $500,000, team and league sources said. But Taylor declined to add that to the contract, the sources said, so the Redskins decided to part ways with him. Taylor was due to make $8.5 million next season.

I don't usually like to add flames to the fire that is the offseason rumor mill, especially when it comes to concocting ridiculously complex and unrealistic scenarios where a team instantly becomes a Super Bowl contender, but I simply can‘t help myself.

The Chiefs have already brought in a wily veteran defensive player in Vrabel, and are rumored to be after Ray Lewis. Let's imagine a scenario where Pioli actually nabs Lewis then actually goes after Taylor, who could probably play both the outside linebacker and defensive end position in the 3-4, but we'll make him an end in our scenario. Then maybe Kansas City grabs Tank Johnson off the market, and selects Aaron Curry with the third-overall pick. Imagine what kind of defense we'd be looking at then!

You'd have Vrabel, Lewis, Derrick Johnson, and Curry at linebacker, possibly Taylor and Glenn Dorsey at defensive end, Johnson up front in the middle, and KC's incumbent young secondary. Wow! The Chiefs would literally go from being a terrible defense to a formidable one.

Perhaps the least likely part of my dream scenario is Dorsey being able to move to end, but he might still garner a first-round pick in a trade, and Turk McBride could be a serviceable end in the 3-4. It's extremely unlikely that this scenario would play out, and probable that the Chiefs won't bring in any of the players I've mentioned, but why can't I play the scenario game too? Top Stories