March 4th, 2015
The Buffalo Bills have made their second trade in as many days as they acquire quarterback Matt Cassel from the Minnesota Vikings for an undisclosed draft pick.
A day after trading for running back LeSean McCoy from the Philadelphia Eagles, General Manager Doug Whaley was back at it again today. Bills beat reporter Joe Buscaglia tweeted last night after the McCoy trade, “The Bills are being very aggressive. I would not be surprised if there is another move soon.” Tweeted Buscaglia.
The move foreshadowed by Buscaglia addresses one of the Bills’ biggest needs, the quarterback position. With the retirement of last year’s starter Kyle Orton, the Bills were set to enter OTAs with former first round pick EJ Manuel as the starter.
In Cassel, the Bills acquire a player with near identical career numbers to the player he will be replacing on the roster, Orton. Both Cassel and Orton are 32 years old. Cassel’s $4.5 million dollar salary is just a shade cheaper than what the Bills paid Orton last season. Orton and Cassel both entered the league in 2005. Orton started out of the gate for the Chicago Bears replacing an injured Rex Grossman. While Cassel, spent his first few seasons backing up Tom Brady in New England. After ten years in the league, Orton has started eleven more games and thrown 350 more pass attempts. Orton holds the slight edge in completion percentage at 59.5 per cent compared to Cassel’s 59 per cent. The similarities continue across the board as Orton and Cassel, have near identical touchdown to interception ratio, average yards per pass.
The move for the Bills is the definition of a lateral move. The team neither improved nor regressed. The strategy seems obvious for the Bills as they will lean heavily on the running game while hoping Cassel can operate as a game manager who limits mistakes.
The trade cannot officially be announced until March 10th due to league rules.