It has been almost three months since the Patriots traded quarterback Matt Cassel and outside linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2009 second-round draft choice.
When the deal was struck, it was a hard sell to some analysts and Patriots fans who asked, "That's it?"
The deal is still being dissected by reporters and columnists, and two different stories caught my eye, reminding me of the diverging views on the deal.
First, Mike Florio writes a piece for the Sporting News on the top 10 best offseason moves, and tips his cap to the Chiefs for the swap. He ranks it the fourth best move of the offseason. "Now the Chiefs have a quarterback who has shown he can perform successfully at the professional level -- and a veteran linebacker who can provide real leadership for a locker room that sorely needs it. And the Chiefs gave up only a second-round pick for both of them," Florio writes.
On the flip side, provocative Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock writes that he is now getting some cold feet about the trade. Whitlock's concern stems, in part, from the fact that the Chiefs have yet to sign Cassel to a contract extension. "Had we known in February that Cassel would cost $15 million and a second-round pick for one season of play, would we still regard his acquisition as a wise move?" he writes.
Even before the trade, I felt Cassel's situation was one of the most compelling Patriots stories I had covered, because of all the elements involved -- quarterback, big money, franchise tag, market conditions, short time to get a deal done, yards-after-catch production etc.
Three months later, the story is no less compelling to me.
While Cassel is no longer in New England, I will be following closely to see how this unfolds and if viewpoint of the trade -- both in the media and among fans -- shifts in any way.