Matt Cassel situation a lot like a year ago


Matt Cassel situation a lot like a year ago

News out of Buffalo (well, Rochester for the time being) is that Matt Cassel is going to start the first of four preseason games for the Buffalo Bills when they host the Carolina Panthers on Friday. Normally, this would be the time where all of the Cassel supporters come out of the woodwork and say “hey he’s going to be the guy! He’s the starter!”

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Hold on a second.

Is this not the same situation as last season? Kyle Orton was paid $5 million last year to be a backup and pressure EJ Manuel into playing better.

What eventually happened? Orton took over in the fifth game of the season because Manuel was not performing up to expectations and the front office was not going to pay him $5 million to sit on the bench.

Fast forward to training camp this season and it is Cassel sitting in Orton’s spot. Journeyman quarterback, average record, getting paid lots of money to bring the Bills to the promised land for the first time in this millennium.

Only this time, it is not $5 million. It’s only $4.15 million for the season, plus a bunch of other incentives that can make him $5.25 million. One of those is a cool half of a million for making the roster.

Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; (left to right) Buffalo Bills quarterbacks Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor and Matt Simms drop back to throw a pass during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

However, there is another catch to this contract: If Cassel gets cut before the season, he does not make his base salary.

So why in essence is Cassel getting this first start? Rex Ryan and company are going to give him any chance to start, so that they do not look stupid making this deal.

Also, if these quarterbacks (Manuel and Tyrod Taylor) are not performing up to their expectations for the rest of camp, the Bills have a game-manager in Cassel who has been to the playoffs before and done well on talented rosters, with the likes of the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cassel is a lot like the former Dallas Cowboys backup – a quarterback who will not blow up a game, but at the same time cannot have a game put on his shoulders. While the money that he was paid is the second-most they have paid a QB behind Orton in a while, it will not go to waste.

While Bills fans have been waiting for a quarterback for some time now, look at the facts of the matter. Just because Cassel is starting week one of the preseason, it does not mean that he is the starter of this team.

If he is, so be it. Bills fans do not care if Brett Favre comes out of retirement to lead this squad. They just want somebody to lead their beloved team to the playoffs and eventually a Super Bowl.

But right now, it’s just the preseason. Nobody ever goes to a concert to see the opening act.

They want to see the headliner. The preseason is the opening act, leading up to the big decision of who will be the headliner for the home opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

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