Matt Cassel Is A Free Agent This Offseason; What Will The Patriots Do With Him?

Matt Cassel's Free Agency Will Put The Patriots In A Very Tough (And Expensive) Situation

11/17/08 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Tom Brady's injury put the New England Patriots in a very tough position. The preseason favorites to win the AFC suddenly turned into another average team with the loss of last year's MVP. However, Matt Cassel has stepped up and filled in quite nicely for Brady, and seems to be improving every game.

At the end of the season, the Patriots will be in another difficult position. Cassel will be a free agent, and Brady's future may still be undetermined. His knee is still giving him problems, and doctors aren't making any promises that he'll be back next year, or even that his career will ever be the same.

If Brady is unable to come back, or is unable to perform at a high level, then Cassel immediately becomes vital to the Patriots' future. They can't afford to have him under contract next year, however, since they are already in cap trouble and Cassel will likely be looking for a contract along the lines of the one that Aaron Rodgers recently signed with the Packers, giving him $65 over 6 years. The Patriots simply can't afford to pay him that kind of money, and will be forced to let him go.

One option is to put the franchise tag on Cassel. This would pay him the average salary of the 5 highest paid QB's in the league for one year. If Cassel hits free agency, he may get that kind of money anyway. Peter King has said that the only way the Patriots could or would do this is if Brady's knee was so bad that the Patriots had to rely on Cassel to be their starter again, because the players union wouldn't allow them to franchise him simply to trade him. However, there may not be anything the NFLPA can do about it, if that's really what the Patriots want to do. It's definitely the most viable option for them, since they would be able to get something for Cassel instead of simply losing him to free agency for nothing.

The bottom line is that the Patriots will need to do something eventually to get their QB situation sorted out. If Brady can return for next season, then he is the starter, without a doubt. If he can't, however, then they will not only need to find a QB for themselves, they will need to find out what to do with Cassel. If they can get something in return for him, they absolutely have to. They are getting old as a whole, and could use any possible infusion of young talent that is available. As Cassel's performance continues to improve, he continues to become a more appealing option for teams like the Lions, who desperately need a viable option at quarterback.

Don't let Matt Cassel walk away for free. This team is already one more Tom Brady injury away from have to blow it up and rebuild, and there are other needs that have to be addressed this offseason, like the secondary. The Patriots have a huge choice to make after the season. What do you think they should do?
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11/18/08   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

Ryanlaxbull13 wrote:
The Pats would be best suited to try to keep Cassel so they don't end up like the Falcons with Schaub and Vick a few years back. I doubt Tom Brady will ever run a dog fighting ring, but knee injuries can destroy a great career and since his healing time has been derailed somewhat due to various setbacks they may need Cassel to run the show again next season. If they can't keep him they need to sign and trade him to a team with a deep set of DB's and needs a good starting QB. One team that comes to mind is the Chicago Bears who seem to always find ways to need a good starter under center and usually have a top 10 Defense. Provided Cassel stays healthy and performs for the rest of the year they may be able to trade for a Devin Hester or Mike Brown from the Bears Defensive backfield. Either way, the Pats will need to wait on Brady to decide what Cassel's future is.

Even though he hasn't been great this year, odds are Chicago won't want to give up on the special teams star Hester just quite yet and ex-Husker Mike Brown has been slowing down with injuries the last 2-3 years. 

11/17/08   |   primo   |   1 respect

How about trading Cassel for Sage Rosenfehls? That way if Schaub goes down again, Cassel would have already been proven, and if Brady is out, Sage can show off that arm with that great Pats offense.

11/17/08   |   beerstudk   |   1538 respect

Nobody will be willing to give up much for him because they'll know the Pats are in a bind and need to move him.  We've seen this kind of senario all too often and almost always the team ends up buying prime rib with peanut money.  I think that the Pats will just have to let him go for little-to-nothing in return.

11/17/08   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

(Edited by 100%InjuryRate)

Meanwhile Pete Carroll has the best recruiting line ever now: "Son, you don't even have to start for me and I can make you a rich, starting NFL quarterback."

11/17/08   |   kantwistaye   |   4214 respect

(Edited by kantwistaye)

Cassell will be gone next year because some team, probably the Lions, will overpay to get him.  Cassell has done a nice job and is amongst the 32 best QBs in the NFL, but I don't think he could put this up with a bad team and a less than stellar coaching staff.  He certainly isn't that good.

11/17/08   |   Ryanlaxbull13

The Pats would be best suited to try to keep Cassel so they don't end up like the Falcons with Schaub and Vick a few years back. I doubt Tom Brady will ever run a dog fighting ring, but knee injuries can destroy a great career and since his healing time has been derailed somewhat due to various setbacks they may need Cassel to run the show again next season. If they can't keep him they need to sign and trade him to a team with a deep set of DB's and needs a good starting QB. One team that comes to mind is the Chicago Bears who seem to always find ways to need a good starter under center and usually have a top 10 Defense. Provided Cassel stays healthy and performs for the rest of the year they may be able to trade for a Devin Hester or Mike Brown from the Bears Defensive backfield. Either way, the Pats will need to wait on Brady to decide what Cassel's future is.