Former exec says New England Patriots will franchise Matt Cassel
Posted: January 2, 2009
Sporting News staff reports
A former NFL executive says the New England Patriots will place a franchise tag on quarterback Matt Cassel.
"The Patriots are way too smart, and I've talked to people in the organization," Michael Lombardi said on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" this week. The Providence Journal posted the Lombardi quote on its website early Friday. "They are going to franchise Matt Cassel. He's an asset, and they can control their ability to trade him if they franchise him."
The franchise tag means the Patriots would have to give Cassel, 26, a one-year contract worth an average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Pro Football Talk.com's Mike Florio, a contributing writer for Sporting News, reported the average is $14,444,461.40 -- about $180,000 less than the 2009 salary cap figure for injured quarterback Tom Brady.
Florio speculates franchising Cassel could mean one of two things: New England will receive significant compensation by trading Cassel or the Patriots will work out a short-term deal that will keep Cassel around until Brady is at 100 percent.
Cassel started 15 games for the Patriots this season, throwing for 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Lombardi worked in the front offices of the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Denver Broncos over more than two decades, in roles ranging from scout to player personnel director.