The Buffalo Bills just pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in a long time to bring LeSean McCoy to the backfield, and now the team is looking at a new quarterback to complete the offensive upgrade.
On Wednesday, the Bills traded for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, who came to the team in exchange for two undisclosed draft picks.
Cassel, 32, played two seasons in Minnesota, losing his starting job to Teddy Bridgewater last season. He has one year left on the two-year, $10 million deal he signed last March.
The Bills shocked the football world on Tuesday when they announced a straight swap, sending talented but injury plagued linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for running back LeSean McCoy. The move signaled that the Bills are shifting into win-now mode, and Wednesday’s trade only solidified that.
There had been rumors that the Buffalo Bills were looking at veterans Michael Vick or Mark Sanchez, both of whom had played under Rex Ryan in New York.
Matt Cassel’s trade shows that the Buffalo Bills are putting an emphasis on winning now rather than looking for the future. The team had already traded away this year’s first round draft pick to move up in last year’s draft and take receiver Sammy Watkins, and the Kiko Alonso trade means that Ryan is unafraid to part with top talent to fill an immediate need.
Buffalo already has a championship caliber defense, but their offense struggled last year with a decidedly mediocre Kyle Orton at quarterback, and an oft-injured C.J. Spiller and aging Fred Jackson at running back.
The trade for Matt Cassel may not be giving the Buffalo Bills a sure-fire starting quarterback, but it provides competition for third-year signal caller E.J. Manuel and brings in one of the best quarterbacks available in an otherwise thin year for free agency.
It also seems clear that the Buffalo Bills will be adopting the run-heavy strategy that Rex Ryan used in reaching the AFC Championship Game in his first two seasons in New York. LeSean McCoy remains one of the top running backs in the league, and if called upon to start Matt Cassel can effectively manage games well enough to put the Bills in playoff contention, at the least.