KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Quarterback Matt Cassel has been among the regulars working out at the Chiefs’ Truman Sports Complex practice facility since the end of the season.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Cassel will be a part of the program when the Chiefs begin their organized team workouts in April.
Even though it has been a month since he took the job as the Chiefs’ new coach, Andy Reid hasn’t yet made a commitment to Cassel.
“I’m going to just let that play out,” Reid said when asked whether Cassel would play for the Chiefs in 2013. “We’re too early in the process to know that. We’ll continue to evaluate it. We’re evaluating him just like we do a free agent. That’s what you do, and the thing about that is it takes time. I think he realizes that. That’s how it works when there’s a change.”
Cassel was benched midway through last season, his fourth with the Chiefs, and replaced by Brady Quinn. Cassel ranked 32nd — dead last — in passer rating among quarterbacks who threw enough passes to qualify in 2012.
Cassel’s 2013 salary is $7.5 million, making it unlikely the Chiefs would retain him unless he’s their starter.
Their other quarterbacks last season were Quinn, a potential unrestricted free agent, Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney, who joined the Chiefs last year as an undrafted rookie and spent all season on the injured-reserve list.
Reid was similarly non-committal on whether the Chiefs would attempt to re-sign Quinn, who finished with an even lower passer rating than Cassel (he didn’t throw enough passes to qualify for the ranking).
But Reid sounded intrigued by Stanzi, who joined the Chiefs as a fifth-round draft pick from Iowa two years ago but hasn’t played in a regular-season game.
“I watched a ton of his (video) from college,” Reid said. “I watched all of it. I watched everything he has from here. There’s just not that much of it. That’s a hard (evaluation). You want to see them in games. I’ve heard good things about him, both of those guys (including Cassel) and actually Brady, too. But with Stanzi you just don’t have as much information.
“There’s probably not enough on Ricky (to have an informed opinion), certainly not enough on what we’ll ask him to do. Matt, you’ve got a little better feel about just because there’s more snaps. Matt’s a good football player.”
The Chiefs’ list of potential free agents also includes their leading wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, two other starters, in left tackle Branden Albert and defensive end Glenn Dorsey, and Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt.
Bowe played last season as the Chiefs’ franchise player. He would appear to be the most likely candidate to become the team’s franchise player again if the sides don’t agree to terms of a long-term contract first. The period to designate a franchise player begins Feb. 18. Free agency begins in March.
“We’re going through that whole process right now,” Reid said when asked which potential free agents would be a priority for the Chiefs to re-sign. “It’s almost too early to say. We’re reaching out. We’re talking to them.”
Reid said he is getting to know many of the Chiefs players. Others, he already knew from his time with Philadelphia. The Eagles hoped to draft some of them, including Albert and safety Eric Berry, and Reid spent time with them as they were coming out of college.
“What’s funny is that some of these kids, Branden being one of them, I had spent a lot of time with before the draft, before they came out,’’ Reid said. “Eric Berry was in here today, making sure his hand was OK. He’s good. So seeing them is kind of funny. Now they’ve all grown up. They’re men and they’ve made it.”
The Chiefs will begin their organized offseason conditioning program on April 1. They will have 10 offseason practices in May and a mandatory three-day minicamp in June.
Because they have a new head coach, the Chiefs will also have an extra minicamp in May.