Buffalo Bills: Will They Cut Matt Cassel if He Loses Starting Job?


Buffalo Bills: Will They Cut Matt Cassel if He Loses Starting Job?

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There’s no denying fans were decidedly underwhelmed when the Buffalo Bills made the decision to trade for Matt Cassel. In many respects, the thinking behind such a move was to provide another steadying presence behind center, a la Kyle Orton.

Personally, I had no issue with the trade, with Cassel only costing the Bills a fifth round pick in 2015 and seventh round selection the following year. Besides, Rex Ryan had to do something, especially when you consider this is one Buffalo’s best rosters since they last made the playoffs in 1999.

Plus, let’s not forget the 33-year old has had his moments, including making the Pro Bowl in 2010, while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. During that year, he threw for over 3,000 yards, and had career highs in touchdown passes (27) and quarterback rating (93.0).

May 26, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Cassel (16) warms up during the organized team activities at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

However, a funny thing has happened on the road to the start of the NFL regular season – Cassel has struggled. Suddenly, there are no guarantees he will be the starter come September time.

These struggles came to light during recent OTAs, with several practices open to reporters. As Mike Rodak of ESPN wrote: “There wasn’t a practice open to reporters where Cassel stood out among his peers, while there were at least one or two sessions where he was just downright bad.

“I went into OTAs thinking Cassel had the best chance to be the opening day starter, given his level of experience. I now question if he will make the roster.”

Obviously, you wouldn’t expect your head coach to throw you under the bus, and Ryan was measured in his comments about his quarterback. As he told Rodak and the rest of the media: “I thought Matt did some good things and then some other ones he was kind of late on a deep ball.

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“I think that thing was up the rails and (has) got to be thrown a little bit quicker. But always there’s some things that you probably think you can get better at and then some things that he did well.”

Regardless of Cassel’s struggles right now, it’s too early to know for sure what will happen. However, it’s certainly worth wondering what the future may hold for him.

If the Northridge, California native fails to win the starting quarterback role, can the Bills afford to keep him around as a backup? As it stands, he will count for $4.75 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News tends to agree that Cassel’s salary is an issue. As he said:”That’s a whole lot of cap space to devote to a backup.”

On the flip side, Carucci did say he believes the two-time AFC Offensive Player of the Week would be an excellent mentor backup to EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor: “He is a true professional who knows how to suppress his ego and do what’s right for the team.”

Ultimately though, it will come down to Cassel’s salary, if he fails to win the starting job. For example. cutting him would free up some much-needed cap space, to help in negotiations over a long-term deal for Marcel Dareus.