TAMPA — Former 49ers and Lions head coach Steve Mariucci, who had a strong reputation for his work with quarterbacks, now serves as an analyst for NFL Network. He was asked today for his thoughts on what Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel might be worth in a trade.
“Would you take a Mark Sanchez or a [Matthew] Stafford out of college in the first round, or would you take a Matt Cassel, who has won big games, is 11-5 already, and has experience under his belt for a first-rounder? You’d take Matt Cassel, I would think,” Mariucci said.
“He’s a healthy young guy who has experience. So yeah, he’s a first-round [pick] easy. More than a first round. First and something else.”
Mariucci elaborated on Cassel.
“I would put a high value on him, but keep in mind that he’s a young quarterback playing on a very good team,” he said. “Ben Roethlisberger was 15-1 as a rookie playing on a very good team. Not often does a youngster at quarterback have that advantage. [Cassel] was fortunate to play on a championship, dynasty type team and be 11-5, a terrific job. You put him on a bad team, and obviously he’s not going to be as productive. But he showed some physical skills that were very encouraging. He showed some savvy. Maturity. He did a good job handling the media and handling the situation there with Tom Brady. Those type of things add up, they’re all positives.”
Mariucci believes the Patriots will end up keeping Cassel, even given the salary cap considerations.
“I would be shocked if he’s playing for somebody else, because you have to have – in this day and age – two good quarterbacks,” he said. “And sometimes that’s not enough.”