As expected, the Patriots have wasted no time in making sure it’s going to be very tough and expensive for any team to try and sign QB Matt Cassel. Today, the first day they could do it, the Pats placed the franchise tag on Cassel, this after the backup to Tom Brady led the team to an 11-5 record.
There is talk that Brady’s injury may keep him from starting on opening day in 2009, meaning that it’s all the more important to have Cassel on the roster just in case. Brady says he’ll be ready, but that is not a for sure at this point and time. Cassel might also be trade bait, as he’ll be awfully expensive to keep around, as he’ll make an estimated $14.65 million as a franchised quarterback.
The franchise tag means that New England can match any offer that Cassel gets, and if they decline, they will get two first-round picks of the team that signs him. The franchise tag value is the average of the top five paid NFL players at a particular position.
“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,” Bill Belichick said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Matt again in 2009.”
Last season, Cassel finished with 327 completions in 516 attempts (63.4 percent) for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The yardage was the fourth most in the AFC and the completion percentage was the third best in team history.