On a day when many league observers assume that quarterback Matt Cassel will be playing his last regular-season game for the Patriots, there’s still reason to believe that Cassel will be back with the team in 2009.
Per Tom Curran of, starter Tom Brady remains “well behind schedule” in recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and torn MCL in his left knee suffered in the first quarter of the first game of the season.
Problems arose when an infection invaded Brady’s knee.  After six weeks of IV antibiotics and several additional procedures, Curran reports that the ACL and MCL are still “loose.”  There’s also scar tissue in the knee, which is limiting mobility and which might have to be removed surgically.
But the looseness of the ligaments is the bigger potential problem.  Curran reports that Brady might need surgery that would wipe out his 2009 season.
And so the question for the franchise will be whether to use the franchise tag to keep Cassel in place for next year.  As Curren points out, however, a franchise tender of roughly $12 million for Cassel would result in nearly $26 million in cap room being devoted to Brady and Cassel for the coming year.
There’s another possibility we’ve been considering.  What if the Pats can persuade Cassel to take a below-market deal in order to maintain a Montana-Young arrangement for the next few years, with Cassel then becoming the heir to Brady when he retires? 
Maybe, just maybe, Cassel wonders whether his success is a result of the system in which he has been schooled, and whether he’d simply be another Scott Mitchell or Rob Johnson if he simply takes the biggest offer he can get and heads to a new team.
Don’t forget that Cassel was willing to stay put at USC as the understudy to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, even though he could have pulled a Joe Flacco and transferred to a I-AA (now FCS) school and secured a shot at playing. 
Maybe, just maybe, Cassel would also prefer to stay with the Patriots, and maybe like so many other members of the team he’ll be willing to take less money than he could get elsewhere in order to remain in New England.


  1. “But the looseness of the ligaments is the bigger potential problem. Curran reports that Brady might need surgery that would wipe out his 2009 season.”
    Any good examples of an elite player missing two consecutive seasons and returning to their former level of play?

  2. I would think the fact that the guy he was backing up had his knee turned to confetti would prompt Cassel to go for a big payday while he can. He has to know that if it could happen to Brady, it can happen to him. Take the money and run – while you still have healthy knees.

  3. The hit wasn’t even bad. I mean, I’ve had my knee blown out. I struggle to see replays of knee injuries. But his wasn’t bad at all. It doesn’t make me wince or make me want to look away from seeing it. He walked down steps to the lockerroom after it happend. It couldn’t have been that bad.

  4. And the cynic in me asks, what if Brady isn’t behind schedule? It gives the Patriots cover to apply the franchise tag to Cassel and when Tom Terrific gets up to schedule, they can trade him to a team (NFC) that gives up draft picks and signs Cassel to a long term deal. Win-win all along….unless you’re a fan of the other 30 teams……

  5. If he can really only play well in one system, he could take the money, stink in the new system and pocket the guaranteed money plus salaries then head back to New England and play in a system to replace Brady.
    I don’t see a Montana/Young situation. Cassel either replaces Brady as the starter (even just for another season) or he’s playing for a new team in 2009.

  6. I don’t see Brady returning to the NFL ever again, do you really think that knee will ever hold up to another blow again especially when one of your O line men is a drug addict

  7. Yeah, ask Randy Moss if he is thrilled with “taking less money” to play for a team who has no better a chance to win a Super Bowl than really any other team in the league. Randy should have taken less and played with the Giants last year, or the Colts the year before, or the Steelers the year before that..hehe
    This myth that players take less to stay with the Patriots is laughable. You’re paid what you’re worth. Truth be known any other offers were probably not far off with what the Pats offer these men of generocity. But, it does make Pats homers feel good saying that the Pats are on a pedestal.

  8. “But, it does make Pats homers feel good saying that the Pats are on a pedestal.”
    Haha that is so true, patty cake homers think that every player in the NFL would give their life up to play for Bill Belicheat. Even Florio is caught up in that bullshit. Ask Asante Samuel why he didnt take less money

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