A pair of major quarterback transactions have occurred in recent days: the first, of course, was a three-year contract extension for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Earlier today, sources confirmed to ESPN that the Chiefs had acquired Alex Smith from the 49ers in exchange for a pair of draft picks.
We know the implications of Brady's deal for the Patriots: It effectively makes him a Patriot for life, while also netting the team $15 million in cap space over the next two years.
As ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter points out, Brady's new cap number for 2013 of $13.8 million also potentially affects Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who may receive the exclusive rights franchise tag from Baltimore. That tag entitles him to a one-year deal worth the average of the top five salary-cap numbers among players at his position. Brady's cap number dropped from first to ninth ($21.8 million to $13.8 million), and the exclusive rights franchise tag's value dropped by $800,000.
The Smith deal may have something of an indirect impact on the Patriots, according to ESPN.com's Matt Williamson, who opines that backup Ryan Mallett is one of three names that could surface on the quarterback trade market (Insider content) now that Smith is unavailable.
If the Patriots are interested in trading the former third-round pick, his value could go up if other quarterbacks become unavailable and teams grow more desperate to find a potential starter. He's highly regarded by the Patriots brass, and the team doesn't have a ready-made backup if Mallett were to be traded. However, Williamson also posits that Matt Cassel, who Schefter reports is expected to be released by the Chiefs, could be a reasonable possibility to consider if Mallett were gone.
There are a handful of teams still looking to upgrade their quarterback position, and this year's draft is considered thin on franchise-type players at the most important position on the field. Mallett's name is one that continues to pop up in speculation, however it remains unclear if the Patriots would be inclined to trade him.