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The New England Patriots announced today that they have designated quarterback Matt Cassel as their franchise player, becoming only the fourth player in team history to receive the designation.  The team didn’t waste any time securing him contractually for next season; Thursday was the first day to apply the tag.
It’s a hefty price tag against their 2009 salary cap, a one-year, $14.65 million salary.
Of course, the Patriots can entertain trade offers for Cassel, who proved to be valuable insurance when Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“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,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement.  “We look forward to working with Matt again in 2009.”
The three previous Patriots to be designated as franchise players are kicker Adam Vinatieri (2002 and 2005), safety Tebucky Jones (2003) and cornerback Asante Samuel (2007).

Permalink 48 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
  1. joetoronto says: Feb 5, 2009 5:09 PM

    Let the offers begin.

  2. Obligatory Pats Fan says: Feb 5, 2009 5:10 PM

    Saw this coming. But now what? That I do not know

  3. Jazzo says: Feb 5, 2009 5:14 PM

    Wasn’t Deon Branch franchised before being traded to Seattle?

  4. GT327 says: Feb 5, 2009 5:15 PM

    As reported today in the Globe, the other players tagged by the Patriots were tagged at or near the deadline for doing so (the earliest was Asante Samuel, tagged about 4 days prior to the deadline in 2006). This early tagging of Cassel may suggest an intention to trade Cassel’s rights, as it effectively cuts off any discussions between Cassel and other teams without also including the Patriots.

  5. anaheim2dafullest says: Feb 5, 2009 5:18 PM

    well there you go chiefs your gonna have to break the bank, cassel dont go to the nfc north and im happy

  6. bmatt72 says: Feb 5, 2009 5:19 PM

    Let the trade rumors start swirling!

  7. Bradybunch says: Feb 5, 2009 5:23 PM

    If the Pats can get enough out of Cassel to land Rey Maualuga that would be a dream come true. If we get stuck with Matt this season, I don’t want to hear about running it up with a second stringger.

  8. big_pat11 says: Feb 5, 2009 5:30 PM

    Wow. Now let the mind games of the NFL teams brass begin.

  9. DJSlyBri says: Feb 5, 2009 5:30 PM

    He needs to run and sign the tender before they pull it.

  10. pats suck says: Feb 5, 2009 5:33 PM

    Matt Cassel? He can’t throw the long ball – they should have tagged Matt Walsh instead.

  11. Blakepts says: Feb 5, 2009 5:34 PM

    Let the bidding begin…might as well put him on Ebay

  12. grkboiler says: Feb 5, 2009 5:35 PM

    The Chiefs knock Brady out, allowing Matt to perform, Pioli goes to KC and now Cassel may be the QB for the Chiefs in the future. Funny how things can come full circle.

  13. dick_curl says: Feb 5, 2009 5:37 PM

    Early prediction, Cassell gets traded to the Chiefs where Pioli knows just how good he is. First and a third round pick seems about right.

  14. jbwbubba says: Feb 5, 2009 5:38 PM

    Almost 15 mil for a guy who hadn’t started a game since High School, till this past season. What a great country. Now do the Pats try and trade Cassell or keep him; thinking Brady might be hurt.

  15. RyanHarris says: Feb 5, 2009 5:40 PM

    I hope Matt signs it INSTANTLY.
    Either he gets almost $15m for a years work, or he gets a doozy of a contract somewhere else and gets his chance to be the face of a franchise.
    I think if Peppers gets franchised there is a chance that Pats and Panthers swap the two players.

  16. DonBeGood says: Feb 5, 2009 5:41 PM

    Franchise a SYSTEM QB?….Might as well franchise Matt Gutierrez and Kevin O’Connell while they are at it.

  17. svnrdr says: Feb 5, 2009 5:41 PM

    That is greater than 25% of the entire cap (including brady) on one position. So that leaves roughly 12-15% of the cap sitting on the side line watching.

  18. BaltimoreSports says: Feb 5, 2009 5:42 PM

    Damn, they didn’t waste any time, did they? What a story. A guy who didn’t start since high school now making over $14mil. Unreal.

  19. Joe 6-pack says: Feb 5, 2009 5:42 PM

    Okay, now, trade Chester Taylor and maybe a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Cassel, Vikings.

  20. snowangel says: Feb 5, 2009 5:44 PM

    Interesting what the last three franchised players all have in common…
    I guess I’m glad I didn’t buy a “Cassel” jersey.
    Go Pats!
    Cue the haters in 3…2…1…

  21. obama23to1 says: Feb 5, 2009 5:51 PM

    14 million to sit on his arse for a year and possibly play a couple games, possibly more. this society needs a maximum wage because what we have now is a miserable failure. most people won’t make 2 million in a lifetime

  22. superius says: Feb 5, 2009 5:56 PM

    Wow the first day they can do it they pull the trigger.
    Wonder if this means a few teams have made it known that they are interested in making a deal or not.
    Let the games (and full fledged speculation) begin!

  23. DwaredominatesAgain says: Feb 5, 2009 6:00 PM

    Somewhere in West Virginia, Florio is pleasuring himself to this article

  24. ampats says: Feb 5, 2009 6:03 PM

    New England is now open for business. Hello Detroit is on the line with their #20 in the 1st round & a2,maybe + 4th rounder? Hello Scott Pioli, how does Tyler Thigben look?Tony Gonzales +???

  25. blackglass3 says: Feb 5, 2009 6:14 PM

    Congrats, Matt. You did an awesome job for us last year and no matter what happens now, you’ll always be a loved Patriot. Enjoy your $14M or your long term deal and starting gig.

  26. udamright says: Feb 5, 2009 6:15 PM

    You are the first site to put pictures of fat people all over it. Every other site has hot chics plastered all over them. Amen to you. Nothing better than reading an article with flabby bellies in between paragraphs. Kudos.

  27. deddyluger says: Feb 5, 2009 6:18 PM

    They might be franchising him to keep him. Maybe Brady isn’t ready to go.

  28. newenglandfan says: Feb 5, 2009 6:19 PM

    Good for Cassel, he had a great year. If he is traded though,how would you like the Vikings chances next season with him at quarterback?

  29. misterj says: Feb 5, 2009 6:20 PM

    Gonna be funny how they’re gonna have to trade or cut brady or cassel.
    Can’t believe they would do this. Stupid stupid stupid.

  30. empty13 says: Feb 5, 2009 6:30 PM

    hey mom i won the lot-to…

  31. TuPlaxicoHarrisSmithShakurBurress says: Feb 5, 2009 6:33 PM

    This can only mean that Brady’s rehab and knee aren’t going well.
    Goodbye Brady…your HOF career is over! At least you have Gisele to keep you warm at night

  32. DarthJay says: Feb 5, 2009 6:38 PM

    The silver lining in losing the best player in the NFL for the season and dashing another sure shot at the Super Bowl is going to be turning a guy who was only drafted in the seventh round because Belichick thought he would sign with the Titans or Bengals into a first round pick (at worst a pair of seconds).
    So God… err… Brady comes back next year, the Patriots get infused with even more young talent and all is right in the world again. It’s a shame for the rest the league fans out there that their year off from Patriots dominance resulted in a team winning the Super Bowl for the sixth time instead of, you know, an upstart team in their first Super Bowl winning, but hey, you can thank the NFL for that.

  33. Bob S. says: Feb 5, 2009 6:45 PM

    How about Jets signing Franchised Cassel to replace Favre to sell the other seat licenses in the new stadium in east rutherford, new jersey? Or at worst force Patriots to use up all that cap space on 2 QBs?

  34. pat in philly says: Feb 5, 2009 6:59 PM

    draft day trade for Mr. Cassell

  35. 8man says: Feb 5, 2009 7:06 PM

    I think most of us knew this was going to happen and would be surprised if they didn’t do it.
    Hey, does that mean we are starting to think like Bill Belichick? Or this just another Jedi mind trick for a big surprise down the road?

  36. dashoe says: Feb 5, 2009 7:12 PM

    Mark this down people….
    Matt Cassell will be the starting QB for the New England Patriots in 2009.
    Brady, you’ve just been Bledsoe’d.

  37. yankeemofo says: Feb 5, 2009 7:12 PM

    He’ll stay for less money.

  38. nedirect says: Feb 5, 2009 7:14 PM

    he will not take a snap for the patriots ever again.

  39. Outsyder says: Feb 5, 2009 7:19 PM

    Should he pack his bags for Kansas City?

  40. nflwizard says: Feb 5, 2009 7:27 PM

    I think Matt did a great job last year coming on and leading the team to 11-5. But I can’t help but wonder if this means that the Pats have a strong sense of thinking Tom may not be able to resume his pre-injury status. I’m not a Patriots fan; however, I think Tom Brady is good for the game and wish him the best of luck.
    I don’t think Scott Pioli is going to ransom the Chiefs draft choices and salary cap just to get Cassel. Dick Vermeil did that when we traded for Trent Green and we’ve never recovered.

  41. CaptainFantastik says: Feb 5, 2009 7:28 PM

    Many here are:
    a) over-estimating his trade value, just because the Patriots are willing to pay him $14+ million doesn’t mean he’s worth that much to other teams.
    b) assuming teams would be dumb enough to sell their futures to get a 1 year starter who played behind one of the better lines in the league and got to throw to Moss and Welker. He won’t have that luxury if he ends up with a bottom-dweller squad…….and General Managers are well aware of that. Really, the only Front Office I see dumb enough to make that decision who also has a need at QB is Detroit.
    If the Pats are unable to unload him they will be in a bit of a bind.

  42. superius says: Feb 5, 2009 7:43 PM

    misterj says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 6:20 pm
    Gonna be funny how they’re gonna have to trade or cut brady or cassel.
    Can’t believe they would do this. Stupid stupid stupid.

  43. AngelaF says: Feb 5, 2009 7:44 PM

    I think the fact that the Jets are most likely going to need a QB is a factor in the Patriots decision to franchise Cassel.

  44. ctpatsfan77 says: Feb 5, 2009 7:45 PM

    “How about Jets signing Franchised Cassel to replace Favre to sell the other seat licenses in the new stadium in east rutherford, new jersey? Or at worst force Patriots to use up all that cap space on 2 QBs?”
    Sorry–you need $15M in free cap space first. And, BTW, if the JEST were to offer two firsts, Belichick would drive Cassel down to East Rutherford himself.

  45. markpmac says: Feb 5, 2009 7:46 PM

    I love the people here gabbing about how dumb a move this is. I’m sure you guys are much more schooled in personnel moves than one of the greatest coaches of all time. Unreal. You guys have some brass ones.

  46. NonYahooHotmailAcct says: Feb 5, 2009 7:48 PM

    Cassel isn’t worth $14 M a year, but he won’t be making that. He is worth the 7-10 million some team will get him.
    And don’t count on KC — Thigpen was pretty good last year and Pioli knows that.

  47. HGH is tasty says: Feb 5, 2009 7:57 PM

    Who cares. Anyone remember Derek Anderson?

  48. ScottieC says: Feb 5, 2009 7:58 PM

    As the Original 3.2..1 guy, I say:
    Let the Patriot Hate and Jealousy begin in 3……….2……….1

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