Could the Patriots Do a Sign and Trade Deal w/ Cassel?

There is no question that Pats QB Matt Cassel has earned himself a lot of money this past season playing for the injured Tom Brady.  One of the biggest offseason questions for he and the team will be about his future.  He is set to be a free-agent, but with Brady’s rehab rumored to be going slower than expected, Cassel may be a player that the Pats need in 09.

Today’s Boston Herald has an interesting tidbit about a possible “sign-and-trade” type of move that is popular with the NBA.  Here is the piece:

What the heck are the Patriots going to do with Matt Cassel? Under normal circumstances, they’d probably say sayonara to the backup who emerged from Tom Brady’s shadow and forged a borderline Pro Bowl season. But with questions persisting over the health of Brady’s surgically repaired left knee, the Patriots find themselves in a bind. If the Pats let Cassel walk rather than pay him No. 1 money, they run the risk of having no starting quarterback should Brady suffer a setback.

But if they put the franchise tag on him for roughly $12 million and Brady returns to full health, they will sport one of the most expensive backups in history at 10 percent of 2009’s $123 million salary cap. Their other option would be to franchise and then trade Cassel and receive a return on their four-year investment in him rather than letting him leave for nothing. It’s unlikely the sides would reach a long-term contract agreement, since barring a career-ending setback, Brady is the team’s present and future QB and that’s the end of that.

There are a number of teams that would love to make a run at Cassel, but I would think that the Pats are going to do whatever it takes to make sure he does not hit the open market, if Brady is healthy or not. 

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