The trade that sent Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs appears to be only the first phase of some major wheeling and dealing by the New England Patriots this offseason.
The second phase, NFL sources say, is likely to involve a trade that would send Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers to the Patriots in exchange for the second-round pick (34th overall) they received from the Chiefs on Feb. 28.
This will be the first time this off season that I have questioned a move or a lack of a move by the Panthers front office. A second round pick? Are you kidding me?
Peppers, on whom the Panthers have placed a franchise tag that assures him of a one-year contract worth $16.68 million, would be converted to outside linebacker in New England’s 3-4 defense.
NFL sources say the Panthers would welcome the chance to unload Peppers for a second-round draft pick, even though it would be well below his market value, because it would be less costly than signing a first-rounder. The Panthers already have made some belt-tightening financial moves within their front office.
Okay, money may be tight here. That much I understand. But accepting that much less than market value for a guy with the physical talents of Peppers doesn’t make sense even in the least. If you make the deal and don’t want to cough up the money for a first-round draft pick, trade the pick!
At least that way you would parlay the first into mulitple picks later. In this case, it still makes more sense than giving the guy away.
This, in part, could help answer the lingering question of why the Patriots were willing to take only a second-round pick for Cassel and Vrabel rather than possibly go for a higher choice as part of a three-way deal involving the Denver Broncos, who were ready to give up Jay Cutler for Cassel. Without an additional second-round pick, the Patriots might not be able to pursue Peppers.
League sources also point out that the Panthers don’t have a first-round choice after trading it to the Philadelphia Eagles and aren’t scheduled to draft until 59th overall (near the bottom of the second round). The 34th spot would give Carolina the second pick of the second round and a chance to land a player with a first-round rating who was pushed down to that spot for whatever reason.
It’s possible to get a player with a first-round grade early in the second, yes. Still the odds aren’t so good and if (a BIG if) a player has dropped that far, there’s usually a good reason for it.
This one has me shaken badly. Let’s hope that those in charge in Charlotte quickly come to their senses before the team gives Belichick a hometown discount.