The Chiefs put a second-round tender on Croyle this past offseason, which meant any team interested in signing him would have to relinquish a second round draft pick -- the same the Chiefs gave up for Cassel. This signals to me that Pioli and Todd Haley value Croyle's abilities and never wanted to let him go in the first place.
Croyle is winless as a starter in KC.
And why would they?
Croyle has been plagued with injuries for most of his career. But when healthy, Croyle has a great arm and the football smarts needed to run offensive coordinator Charlie Weis' offense.
Had not been for the string of injuries, Croyle would almost certainly be a starting QB today. And despite his "back-up" label, Croyle still has the fire to be #1.
"You're not ever content being a backup," Croyle said when asked about his situation in K.C. "Once you play, once you've started, you always have that drive. If you lose that drive, you're probably not in love with game anymore. Obviously, I want to start, but I'm in a good position there."
Croyle has also taken some initiative to help improve his Achilles heel, the injuries.
Cassel is number one for now.
"Last year I was around 205, 206 pounds," he said. "When we finished minicamp I was at 214. Maybe that will give me a chance to stay healthy and be able to take the beating you take when you play in the NFL."
With the investment made in Cassel, however, the only way Croyle gains the starting position is if Cassel loses it. Cassel's 6 year, $63 million contract is front loaded with only $28 million guaranteed. The Chiefs could cut ties with Cassel after the 2010 season without a huge financial hit. I do not believe it will come to that.
Cassel is a very capable QB who can lead this Chiefs team to the playoffs if Pioli continues to put the right pieces around him. But in Croyle, the Chiefs have a very valuable back-up that could pay dividend in case of a Cassel injury.
Just ask the 2008 Patriots.