By Scott Benson
The Man came down hard on Matt Cassel today, ruthlessly denying the fifth-year quarterback his football freedom by cynically invoking an arcane and possibly illegal CBA clause that was never the late Gene Upshaw’s intent in the first place.
On the first day they were eligible to do so, the Patriots have designated Cassel as their franchise player for 2009, according to Chad Finn over at Reiss’s Pieces.
Bill Belichick even released a statement;
“Matt has been a pleasure to coach his entire career and last season in particular, when his years of hard work and commitment resulted in a most impressive performance,” said Belichick. “We look forward to working with Matt again in 2009.”
I can just imagine Kevin Mannix’s reaction to that last line. Mike Florio will be back later to parse.
The tag is a non-exclusive one, giving the team and the player maximum flexibility to work a possible trade. So the dance begins…
He's either an expensive insurance policy or trade bait, its as simple as that. Many seem preoccupied with the timing of the move, to which I ask: would you allow rather allow the Jets or someone else to snag him without getting anything in return?
One overlooked factor in these discussions is the development of Kevin O'Connell. He's athletic, has a cannon arm and is a leader by all accounts, which seems to fit the Patriot mold. Gasper reported how highly the coaches thought of him last Fall. Belichick himself often states that the period between years 1 and 2 is one of great growth in New England's system, so O'Connell might be ready to assume the role of top clipboard carrier come preseason. Provided Brady's rehab goes according to schedule, that would make Cassel expendable.
Of course, Cassel would have to sign the offer or be traded long before preseason. Armchair GMs already have Pioli and Minny making moves for him. Without any indication as to his adaptability, I think he'd be better suited to a team running the spread offense, which McDaniels plans to install in Denver.
We'll see; should be an interesting couple of months!
Wait, what? Cassel's getting franchised? What the hell's going on?
In all seriousness, I hope SF makes a play for him: he gets to go home (or as close as he can get to it with an NFL franchise) and the Pats get a number 10 overall pick. Not that it wouldn't be comforting to have him around, but it's time to get younger on defense and the draft is the way to do it.
The reason why everybody is linking Cassel to the Vikings is they are literally a good QB away from dominating NFC North (seriously take a look at the rest of QBs in the division). There is no way KC is trading away the #3 pick for Cassel.
On a different note, for somebody who aspires to the top destination for Pats fans, shouldn't you be posting more regularly than one every month? I hate meaningless posts as much as the next person. But come on, you can do better than one post a month.
Tom, by once a month, do you mean February? I mean, yeah, we should have more posts, but it's still early, you know. And my money says Cassel's going to Detroit (for their second first-rounder from Dallas), but with any luck he'll go to SF for their #10.
Tom, I actually like the stuff that's posted on this site and would like to see more. Maybe I exaggerated a liiiiittle bit with the "one post a month" comment. 😉
I hope SF trades their pick at #10 and we land another impact player a la Mayo. But if may be too high a draft choice for SF to trade away. Detroit looks very appealing with 2 first round picks and multiple picks in the 3rd round. But they have too many other holes to fill and with a new head coach there may not be enough of a win-now factor pushing for a trade.
With the Vikings, they have a great running game, a decent defense and a head coach who HAS to win to save his job. And that may be enough of a motivating factor to get the trade done.
Chris, the previous comment was meant to be addressed to you and not to myself. I am not as good with the keyboard as I am with buffalo wings and beer.
We're currently discussing how to better position the site and really take it to the next level…it's the offseason, please be patient with us…
Tom (or Chris. Wait, that's me), I understand. Minnesota looks like they're in the running, I just wonder whether Detroit wants to go through another Joey Harrington trial with Stafford or get their hands on a proven QB. We shall see.
In the meantime, be careful getting red sauce on your keyboard. it's a pain to clean.
It was the knowledge that this would happen that killed Gene Upshaw, true story