Seemed almost like a throwaway line in the show, but on ShowTime’s Inside the NFL this week, Mike Lombardi, former GM of the Raiders and Browns (where he worked with Bill Belichick) and currently of the National Football Post, had this to say on the future of Matt Cassel:

(Could Matt Cassel play for the Jets):

LOMBARDI: The Patriots are way too smart, and I’ve talked to people in the organization. They are going to franchise Matt Cassel. He’s an asset and they can control their ability to trade him if they franchise him.

What’s unclear is whether Lombardi was told directly by someone in the Patriots organization that Cassel will be franchise, or if that was his impression after speaking with someone inside the team. Still, he seems very certain that this is going to happen.

Cassel being franchised certainly wouldn’t be a surprise, but hear Lombardi say he talked to people inside the team and that this is what they’re going to do is a bit newsworthy.

Link: Inside the NFL.