Last year, there was much speculation that the Patriots might cut backup quarterback Matt Cassel, who was having a preseason most league observers regarded as rough.
If rookie Kevin O’Connell, a third-round draft pick in 2008, had been ready to fill the void in the event starter Tom Brady became injured (which, obviously, he did), maybe Cassel would have been cut.
Cassel stayed, and we know the rest of the story.
This year, O’Connell surprisingly has gotten the boot, despite his third-round pedigree.
The news comes from Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com Future, who for now is still working the beat for the Globe.
O’Connell will be subject to the waivers system. And the team most likely to make a claim will be the Kansas City Chiefs, given that G.M. Scott Pioli was the V.P. of player personnel in New England when O’Connell arrived from San Diego State a year ago.
The only teams with priority over the Chiefs in the waiver process will be the Lions and the Rams. Given the uncertainty of the quarterback depth chart in St. Louis, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams put in a claim for him.
If the Chiefs get O’Connell and move Tyler Thigpen, they’ll have the same trio of quarterbacks that the Pats had last year, post-Brady: Cassell, O’Connell, and Matt Gutierrez.