A Pioli-Cassel Marriage … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

They are now attached.

Scott Pioli and Matt Cassel are both married to attractive women. But when it comes to the world of football, these guys are now married, joined at the hip after Tuesday’s announcement of a six-year, $63 million contract for Cassel.

That’s right – a quarterback who has 15 career NFL starts … make that 15 starts in the last eight years of playing football on the pro and college level has agreed to a contract that will pay him on average $13.5 million over the next three seasons. Of the total money, reportedly $28 million is guaranteed.

Pioli told us that he thought highly of Cassel back in late February when he made the deal with the Patriots to get the quarterback.

Less than six months later, without having played a game, Pioli has signed Cassel to the largest contract in franchise history. Fifty seasons of Texans/Chiefs football and the biggest deal in history of the club goes to a player who hasn’t stepped on the field yet wearing the red and gold.

This is one of those deals where Pioli better be right. That’s why these two guys are now attached. If Cassel flops, this deal will drag Pioli into the deep water without a float. If Cassel leads the Chiefs to a championship, then they will both bask in the victory and the adulation.

There is no middle ground when it comes to the outcome of this contract. Cassel can be a good quarterback, but if he’s not leading this team to success in the playoffs, then Pioli has severely overpaid for his services. This will be a black or white outcome.

There’s simply no way Cassel has earned this type of NFL paycheck at this time. His deal comes in at numbers that are just below the guys who have won Super Bowls recently, quarterbacks like his former teammate Tom Brady, Peyton Manning of the Colts and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. As soon as the New York Giants and Eli Manning get done working out his new contract, Cassel’s deal will be just behind him as well.

Those are the quarterbacks of the last six Super Bowl winners. Cassel has never started a game in the playoffs, let alone led a team to a post-season victory or championship. Combine that, with his 15 starts and the circumstances of playing those games with the Patriots and for him to get this kind of money seems excessive.

Pioli obviously believes in the young man, because he’s now staked his future and his reputation on Cassel. There’s a lot of wiggle room for Pioli with the players he inherited; if they fail, he can blame the previous regime. That’s not the case with Cassel. Pioli has given up a second-round pick and a guaranteed $28 million of the Hunt money and that’s all based on his evaluation of the quarterback.

There are some sound foundations for what Pioli has done here. While Cassel is hardly an experienced NFL starter, it makes more sense investing $63 million and $28 million in guarantees with him than it does paying say rookie Mark Sanchez a five-year deal for around $50 million, with $28 million guaranteed. Sanchez may turn out to be the better quarterback, but there’s no evidence on tape to back that up right now. With Cassel, there are 15 game tapes from last season.

By making this move, Pioli is telling everyone that Cassel is a franchise-level quarterback and that’s something the Chiefs have not had for decades. He’s setting up his foundation for building this team on the quarterback position. There’s nothing wild or unusual with that move.

This was not a signing that had to happen right now. There was no deadline to beat, although it has been reported that if they had not reached a deal by 3 p.m. on Wednesday the Chiefs could not sign Cassel until next year. NFL sources say the July 15th date for franchise players did not include Cassel because his franchise tender offer came from the Patriots, not the Chiefs.

Pioli took no chances with the different interpetations around the league on the rule, but it still didn’t require a contract to be done now. Cassel could have played the season at his $14.65 million franchise player tender offer that he got in New England and the Chiefs would not have lost his rights. He could have been franchised again for the 2010 season by the Chiefs, at 120 percent of his 2009 paycheck.

The Chiefs save money doing it this way, since back-to-back franchise years would have cost them $32.23 million, rather than the $28 million in guaranteed dollars that’s in the new deal.

The salary cap was not a factor, given the team had something in the neighborhood of $30 million available to them even with Cassel’s franchise tender offer on the books.

There’s only one reason for doing a deal right now. It’s making the statement that Matt Cassel is the club’s franchise quarterback.

And sink or swim, he’s now attached to Scott Pioli.


NFL negotiators sat down for close to three hours on Tuesday with the NFL Players Association at the union’s offices in Washington. Both sides reportedly said the meeting was a good one.

On Wednesday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and a group of players will visit Capitol Hill to talk with lawmakers about a potential owner’s lockout in the NFL in 2010. Smith plans to stress the economic facts that no football would not only hurt the highly paid players, but would hurt little guys like stadium workers who would be without paychecks.

“I’m not sure in a economic downturn whether a business that generated $8 billion in revenue last year should be contemplating” a lockout is what Smith told the Associated Press.


On Monday, we highlighted the prospects that are available for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft on Thursday. Another one has turned up.

S Demetrice Morley was kicked off the Tennessee team back in April by new Vols head coach Lane Kiffin for various violations, including being late for practices and meetings, and blowing off other team commitments altogether.

Morley is out of Miami, and he’s 6-2, 195 pounds. He started 21 games at Tennessee in the 2006 and 2008 seasons, playing both free and strong safety. Morley did not play in 2007 because he was kicked off the Tennessee team because of academic problems. Also in ’07 he was arrested in Florida on robbery charges. Overall in three years of playing in Knoxville, Morley had 108 total tackles and five interceptions. He will be 22 years old next week.


BROWNS – signed fourth-round draft choice LB Kaluka Maiava and sixth-round CB Don Carey.

DOLPLHINS – signed fourth-round draft choice WR Brian Hartline.

JETS – signed TE Richard Owens.

PATRIOTS – signed sixth-round draft choice DL Myron Pryor.


Born on July 15, 1963 in Portland, Oregon was DT Joe Phillips
(left). He joined the Chiefs in 1992 and spent six years with the team (1992-97), appearing in 91 games with 89 starts. He had 251 total tackles, 14 sacks, four recovered fumbles, two forced fumbles and one interception. Phillips also played in seven post-season games with the Chiefs, contributing 25 tackles and two sacks. He played 14 seasons in the NFL.

Born on July 15, 1938 in Lansing, Michigan was DT Paul Rochester. He was one of the original members of the Dallas Texans, joining the AFL out of Michigan State. Nicknamed “Cuddles” by his teammates, Rochester spent four seasons with the Texans-Chiefs (1960-63), appearing in 48 games. He played 10 seasons, all of them in the AFL.

Born on July 15, 1973 in Goleta, California was G Donald Willis (right). Nicknamed “Snacks” by his teammates, he spent four seasons with the Chiefs (2000-04), appearing in 59 games, with six starts.

37 Responses to “A Pioli-Cassel Marriage … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • July 15, 2009  - Rip 'em a new one says:

    Fortune favors the bold and if that’s true, Pioli and Clark Hunt have more than earned their admission into the club of the bold with this long term mega$$$ transaction.

    Excellent analysis, Bob, and I agree with the marriage analogy you cited. There’s an old saying that goes something on the order of:

    “Do SOMETHING, even if it’s wrong!”

    Well, Pioli/Hunt just did something.

  • July 15, 2009  - Harold C. says:

    I’m not so sure that Pioli will sink if Cassel is mediocre at best. The Chiefs have has a total overhaul. What are the chances of them excelling this season with so much being new? I bet Cassel would have gotten a deal next year if they had not made the current deal even if the Chiefs are mediocre this year. That would mean that (as you said) the Chiefs saved millions doing it this way. So why would Pioli sink like a rock because he saved the team millions? If the Chiefs don’t do very well and contend for a playoff spot this year then there will be fans screaming and hollering anyway.

  • July 15, 2009  - findthedr says:

    “There is no middle ground when it comes to the outcome of this contract. Cassel can be a good quarterback, but if he’s not leading this team to success in the playoffs, then Pioli has severely overpaid for his services. This will be a black or white outcome.”

    Dont agree with this Bob. IMO, Trent Green (and the offense) did enough to lead the team toward a championship, but the defense didnt cooperate. There have been HOF quarterbacks throughout history that did not win a championship (dan Marino is an example)…and very good qbs in the NFL currently (like Carson Palmer) who have yet to win a championship.

    Cassel is now the cornerstone, but he cant be asked to be the entire team.

  • July 15, 2009  - tm1946 says:

    I hope the cornerstone does not get turned into a paving stone behind that offensive line and high valued receivers.

  • July 15, 2009  - findthedr says:

    the largest contract in chief’s history might very well go to Tyson Jackson, not Cassel.

  • July 15, 2009  - Jody says:

    Chiefs have their QB now they need some pieces around him.

  • July 15, 2009  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    It seems that Pioli knew what he wanted to do from day one, got his quarterback and now sealed the deal. Time will tell what the outcome will be but one cannot accuse him of being indecisive. If Cassel is the next Brady all will look back on this as a shrewd and genius move that ultimately saved millions for the team. If it doesn’t work out you’ve accurately assessed where the wrath of discontentwill focus. Pioli brought him into the league and watched him step in and grow throughout the course of last year. He knows what he can do. It begins and ends with the quarterback. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and believe it was another good move to set Cassel and the team up with it clear who is viewed as the long term solution at QB. Now we’ll all see what happens.

  • July 15, 2009  - anonymous says:

    I still say the Chiefs jumped the gun on this deal when it wasn’t necessary. This thing could have been done 10 12 or even 14 games into the season, and still avoided (if money is your only concern) a second Franchise tag.

    I can’t think of one out come that would have hurt the Chiefs if they had chose this route.

    Another thing, I’m shocked that every one has settled on ESPN numbers, I’m not convinced that those numbers are the real deal. In fact, that POS Lombardi said that there is an additional 7.5 mill dollars in bonus due next season for some kind of injury guarantee, of course that would make his report during the draft dead on. He also flat out said Pioli lied, that this deal has been in place since he reported it. Now, I’d like to think that Pioli isn’t a liar but… I do know that Lombardi is an ass hole of major proportions, so for now I’ll lean towards Pioli. Oh! And of course Lombardi had to make sure he let it be known (for about the tenth time) that he “hired Pioli”. So Fn’ what?! You want a wizzo button?

  • July 15, 2009  - ED says:

    People can’t look at this deal like it rides on this season. This is a deal that we have to evaluate 3 or 4 years later. As for organazation not having a franchise QB in years what was Trent Green? I mean he couldn’t helo thix team defense wasn’t any good.

  • July 15, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    If the Cassel situation didn’t work out, I don’t know if it would ruin Pioli’s reputation. Peterson signed Larry Johnson to a huge contract and, although it did not help his reputation, it does not stand out as his one major failure.

  • July 15, 2009  - jimbo says:

    I’m sure Pioli, Haley & some selected coaches reviewed & studied game film of Cassel for quite some time. The contract certainly reflects their findings.
    KC has needed a franchise QB for decades. History has proven itself over & over. Franchise QB’s equal success & dynasty’s. ie… Bradshaw, Montana, Elway, Kelly, Marino, Brady & Manning. Not all won Super Bowls, But they were in the hunt year after year.
    I think the right decision was made. Cassel will continue to get better, both mentally & physically. There are many other talents & tangibles that Matt was judged on. The talents that don’t show up on stat sheets. Leadership qualities, respect of his teammates, drive, ambition, work ethic & the desire to be the best.
    He must have revealed these qualities in the mini camps & OTA’s. We had to do something, somebody had to make a decision. Scott Pioli has made his…
    Danged if you do, Danged if you don’t.

  • July 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    “A Pioli-Cassel Marriage”

    - cue paraphrased Neil Diamond “Love On The Rocks”

    Love’$ on the rock$, aint no surprise, a suckers born eve’y second to my eyes – got games to lose so you sing those KC blues, all the time…

    Romo left Jessica and has been establishing a new relationship w/ teammate Williams this off season according to reports, so, I can see this ‘search’ :shock: & ca$$el bethrothal blooming (tho, truth be it was a bit of a whirlwind romance seeing as how :shock: only saw ca$$el upon the dance floor briefly last year afore getting down on his knee and…well, you know, doing it the ‘Patriot’ way.

    Now, whether the six year commitment will feature an extended honeymoon or not (my guess is ‘no’, a nasty divorce by Kaycee’s 6th game 2009 be in the offing), the $40 mil engagement ring payable over the first 3 years is what made ca$4el say: ‘I do’ & affirmed :shock: said “adieu” to common sense and raison, any.

    Like they say, 50% of these things go the way of ‘check’s’ :roll: “any 22″ commitment – into the receptacle of “I can’t believe I said it & then changed my mind so quickly…thanks for slapping me back to reality Brian.” So, don’t be shocked when this shotgun wedding tween :shock: & ca$$el becomes an annulment nee quickie Mexican divorce aft game 6 here in Show Me.

    The good news nee on thr bright side? Chiefs QB Tyler “The Little Big Man From Coastal Carolina”
    Keep that passing arm/those runnin’ shoes yours warm…for as things will turn out your drivers license this Chiefs juggernaut offense was only temporarily suspended & not permanently revoked.

    Thigpen will take his rightful place back under center (no sorry, that’s the Patriot way – make it back as the rightful starter at QB KC Chiefs.

    This is indeed good news!

    Brodie Croyle…you too just moved up a notch(by way ca$$el’$ default on his ma$$ive loan) to 2nd fiddler/main backup, Chiefs QB.

    *** On a more serious note, here’s hoping the Chiefs former DT Joe Phillips is doing ‘better’ than he was last Rin heard a couple years ago.

    There be too many stories of former pro players having troubles aft they leave the game; unlike years afore whence the income garnered a career was not as great & financial hardship was often culprit, today, ‘more so because’ of the greater $ the problem remains, and, while of a different flavor yet in a similar fashion, despair…

    :cool: daddy-o, ‘search’ :shock: & ‘check’ :roll: affirming…


  • July 15, 2009  - MarkInTexas says:

    If Cassel’s contract makes you nervous, imagine being a Lion’s fan sweating out Matthew Stafford’s $78 mil/$42 mil guaranteed contract!

  • July 15, 2009  - True Red & Gold says:

    At any rate this signing is not a big surprise. Pioli didn’t bring Cassel here for a trial run. He had his mind made up before he ever made the deal for Cassel. I an fine with this deal, and I think it points out something about Pioli.

    I was never a CP hater but unlike Pioli he had too many agendas. Pioli on the other hand seems to have one agenda only and that is to win a championship. He is not concerned with job security, filling the stadium, or pleasing the media and fans. That is fine with me. Pioli won’t be here 20 years so it doesn’t really matter what we think of him, just so long as he wins a championship here before he leaves.

  • July 15, 2009  - True Red & Gold says:

    Another thing, this deal puts more pressure on Haley than it does Pioli. If Cassel fails Haley will be the fall guy!

  • July 15, 2009  - Matt says:

    This is excellent news! Time to usher in the Matt Cassel era! KC fans should be siked about this as we are not paying some unproven rookie. Cassel also has a ton of mileage left due to his limited time on the field. Give Pioli credit for bringing in a quality QB and getting him signed at a reasonable price. The timeliness of this signing shows Matt he is the guy and will give him all the incentive and encouragement to prove all you naysayers wrong that he was successful despite himself due to Moss & Welker. I don’t buy that garbage. Cassel made great reads, accurate throws and good decisions that got his team W’s!

  • July 15, 2009  - findthedr says:

    2 of the 3 guys with the largest contracts in chiefs history will be playing on the D-line (Dorsey and Jackson).

    Hopefully as much pressure (if not more) will be placed on them to produce.

  • July 15, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Im fairly certain that in the OTA’s which really doesn’t mean anything for all of the position players, but it does mean something when your Franchise QB doesn’t throw accurately with no rush on you. How many interceptions? 3-5 I think.

    Cassel last year had the keys to the lamborgini, this year he has the keys to moms station wagon, hope he can be mario andretti behind the wheel…

  • July 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    (Unlike Peterson) “He (Pioli) is not concerned with job security”

    - right – as if Carl’s 20 year squat made him any more so nee different…

    “filling the stadium”

    - ‘search’ :shock: will be out on his ear same as the other guy if Arrowhead is to airy…and it as he, will be.

    “or pleasing the media and fans.”

    - are you going to be playing here at the Comedy Club all week? The last time Peterson sought to please the media – or the fans (‘real’ or ‘fake’) – will be the first time, really…

    “Pioli won’t be here 20 years so it doesn’t really matter what we think of him”

    - speak for yourself – :shock: is on borrowed time starting with his hire; with enough rope, free pass his give way to tarnished legacy…

    “just so long as he wins a championship here before he leaves.”

    - (sound of ‘Taps’ playing)


    :cool: daddy-o, :shock: & :roll: affirming…

  • July 15, 2009  - findthedr says:

    I think most of the INT went to Leggett. I wouldnt be suprised if he beats out Carr for the #2 cb spot.

    New offense (diffrent from NE), and no timing with recievers will lead to blown plays. the INT in OTA’s arent a big deal at this point.

  • July 15, 2009  - Ratso says:

    A done deal when they brought Cassell to the Chief’s. I agree with the statement that Trent Green was a franchise quarterback! If it weren’t for an illegal hit to the head he very well could be retiring from the Chief’s this year. also, I think this sends a message to the Team .. if you puit in the work, prove yourself and are a team player you will be rewarded. Don’t you think Water’s is rethinking his career choices after seeing this salary and the amount of cap we’ve got? I really don’t know if Cassell is worth this much but Pioli and Haley certainly do.

  • July 15, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    College free agent Maurice ‘Deion’ Leggett…future Hall of Famer.

    Remember arrowhead1978, if it’s M. Leggett who gets those picks, then they don’t count…and when those ‘real’ NFL CBs in 2009 start swiping ca$$el$ passes left & right said too will be but a mirage…albeit a much bigger one(s).

    :cool: daddy-o, :shock: & :roll: affirming…

  • July 15, 2009  - Mark says:

    The Pats setting the Franchise tag made this deal for Cassel. If Cassel was just traded for a #2, with no 15 Million franchise tag, his career and accomplishments thus far were worth about a Derek Anderson contract, 3 years, 25 million, about 14 million guaranteed, and a bridge to a really big payday if he proves himself. But with the Franchise tag, Cassel held the cards. He wasn’t going to take a paycut, so you’re looking at about 33 million for 2 years minimum. The Chiefs basically did that, a little more or less depending on the report you believe(I believe Lombardi had it right from day 1)and bought his potential for another 4 years at a less than market rate for a franchise QB. As long as Cassel isn’t a total bust, and I doubt he will be, this is a very good deal for everyone concerned. It’s a better deal then the insane contract the Chiefs gave total stiff Damon Huard after 2007.

  • July 15, 2009  - Alex says:

    This is the worst decision in our franchise history in signing this guy 2 a long term deal. Just look at the history of back-up quaterbacks having 1 year of greatness,signing “BIG” contracts, only 2 not live of 2 expectations or even fulfilling half of the expectations. I just think Pioli dropped the ball on this 1 and Thiggy will become a great Quaterback elsewhere! Sad day in chiefs history b/c what we saw from Cassell last year was the peak of a player with no potential and with Tyler sky is the limit!

  • July 15, 2009  - arrowhead1978 says:

    good point Alex, Scott Mitchell anyone, or how about Matt Schaub & A.J. Feeley…. Hmm maybe to much money but they did have to spend to get over the league minimum!!

  • July 15, 2009  - alex says:

    so it could have been done 14 games in when, if struggling, whats his value? he would think it to be much higher since we wouldnt drop him till he gets 2 years.

    if he was to play well, then the money goes up, say he decides not to sign long term, thats 2 franchise tags that equal the guarenteed money we gave in this 6 year deal over the course of 2 years.

    then there is rivers/manning who will make the QB market in price rise, meaning we would be looking closer to 70-75 mil…

    plus, hes a leader, hes proven he can come in and play well, now that he can stake claim to having this be HIS team, he can now lead, the way he was meant to.

    I love it, this was the offseason move I was waiting for.

  • July 15, 2009  - alex says:

    darnit, the fake posters, “this is the worst decision” are annoying…the real post I made was just above this one…

  • July 15, 2009  - alex says:

    hey imposter alex, you realize you argument was that how often do you see a backup QB who has 1 good year continue on to have a good career?

    then you go on to say thiggy is the man?

    THIGPEN WAS A BACKUP THAT HAD ONE MEDIOCRE YEAR, so Cassel wont make it, and Thigpen will, because Thigpen is “the man”…Please…Thigpen is the QB down 20 who cries in the end zone after scoring claiming a late hit with 5 min left to go in the darn game…Cassel is the guy LEADING this team right now. Say what you want about it being the offseason, only Tony G, came out saying Thigpen had it, notice how many instantly praised the moxy of Cassel, the second he arrived. including Engram who has worked with some of the best.

    54 percent completion percentage with tony G to throw to….

    Your argument is flawed.

  • July 15, 2009  - Alex says:

    How is my argument flawed? Of course Engram would say he has moxy so he can get more balls thrown his way. What I was trying 2 point out was, I think we witnessed Cassell at his best in New England he wont get any better than that…If you watched all the games of the chiefs last year you could see Tyler was improving alot. I wanted 2 run him out of the league when he played Atl, but I saw major improvement in the kid and I think he desereved a fair shot at the starting job.

  • July 15, 2009  - pat says:

    Same old story over and over again… Please start the training camps.

    This is “Jamie Dukes” type unreadable.

  • July 15, 2009  - ILChiefsFan says:

    Not sure how you can say Cassel won’t get any better. To me he seemed to progress throughout last season; his stats support that impression.

    Conversely, how did Thigpen improve? Certainly he overcame a very rough start to play solidly, but he seemed to plateau. Look at his stats in the 1st Chargers game vs. the 2nd, for example.

  • July 15, 2009  - ED says:

    Yeah Bob Trent Green was definately a franchise quarterback. Setting offensive records left and right not his fault the defense was no good.

    As for Cassell. I trust Pioli 100%. He’s got the rings to prove he knows QBs. He was money with Brady and their is no reason to doubt that he will be money with Cassell. I mean at the end of the day he has the rings to prove he knows his job we as fans all we have are opinions. Pioli have been around enough players in this league to know the difference between a mediocre QB and a very good pro bowl level one. Obviously he sees something in Matt Cassell. Like Belichick seen something in him despite Pats fans wanting him out of there after his first few games. This is a move for the future not just for next season. If he’s average next season then who cares its not all about next season its about the seasons to come as well as next season.

  • July 16, 2009  - Brian says:

    This was a smart move and a very good deal by Pioli. Any time you invest in a franchise QB you will be taking a risk. Cassel is a much more proven commodity than Stafford or Sanchez. You can say that Cassel hasn’t “earned” the big payday he received, but then again, neither have Stafford or Sanchez….neither of whom have taken a single NFL snap.

    Either way, if we are going to secure a franchise QB, we were going to have to open up the checkbook. There is no cheap way to go about it. You try to do it on the cheap and you end up with a world of disappointment which is one of the reasons the Chiefs haven’t tasted a SB victory in 40+ years.

    The way that Pioli did this deal was very smart. He front loaded the contract for the first 3 years, allowed us to secure a potential franchise QB, while at the same time setting it up where we can cut him after 3 years if he isn’t getting it done. Very shrewd and intelligent move by Pioli.

    We’ve heard all of the arguments and counter-arguments before with all the stat-crunching, etc. The real question surrounding Cassel is does he have the “it” factor (mobility, footwork, leadership skills, work ethic, accuracy, good vision, ability to read defenses, etc., etc.)? I think he does. He steadily improved at NE as the year wore on and although, he didn’t make the playoffs as you pointed out Bob, he did lead them to an 11-5 record, and it is extremely rare that a team with an 11-5 record misses the playoffs. He did all this without any previous starting experience. I think Cassel will succeed.

  • July 16, 2009  - Russ says:

    I agree with the positive posters. At current rates for even a proven, though one year skilled position player, the chiefs have no other option. Young prime time player who succeeded with one of the best organizations out there. The upside is worth much more the risk now than downside and we are coming off a horrible season. I would bet we actually luck out with this deal…
    Again what are the alternatives without securing the confidence necessary for a top position.

  • July 20, 2009  - ricky-poo says:

    Sure 11-5 is a good record BUT NOT AFTER AN 18-1 SEASON!! What if a team finishes 12-4 lets say and they follow it up 5 games worse the next season with a new QB. That would make them 7-9. Would you be heralding that QB as a winner? 8-8 to 3-13. Same thing. I don’t know. The Patriots were 5 games worse with Cassel. You make the call.

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