Cassel has opted out of his contract

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Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel had until Friday to opt out of the second year of the two-year deal he signed in Minnesota last year.  He opted not to push his decision to the deadline.

Per a league source, Cassel already has exercised his right to extinguish the final season of the contract.

And so, instead of making $3.7 million in Minnesota next year, the former Chiefs starter will become a free agent on March 11.  It remains to be seen whether another team will give him a chance to compete for the starting job, or whether he’ll join a new franchise as the backup.

Cassel appeared in nine games last year, with six starts.  He won three and lost three, but Cassel had key roles in the team’s only two other victories of the season, coming off the bench to engineer wins over Washington and Chicago.

The lingering New England connection could lure Cassel to Houston and former Pats assistant Bill O’Brien.  With the Texans, Cassel could be paired with a first-round draft pick, mentoring the youngster and possibly playing until the rookie is ready.

Cassel also could end up being the backup to Matt Ryan in Atlanta, where the man who brought him to Kansas City (Scott Pioli) is now the assistant G.M.

Then there’s Tampa, where new defensive coordinator (and former Vikings coach) Leslie Frazier could vouch for Cassel to coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, neither of whom seem to be sold on Mike Glennon.

It’s also possible that Cassel returns to Minnesota with a contract that better reflects his potential role as a starter.  But with the Vikings having a new coach and a new offensive coordinator, a second season becomes less likely.

The move leaves the Vikings with only one quarterback under contract for 2014:  Christian Ponder.  Which means that the Vikings will be adding multiple quarterbacks over the next three months.

99 responses to “Cassel has opted out of his contract

  1. I can’t wake till our great Viking dynasty stomps a mud hole in the pathetic packers twice next season.than we knock the seadderall shehawks out the playoffs in a staggering blow out win.SKOL

  2. Not even going to talk crap about the Vikings. Like kicking a dead horse, no fun anymore. Hopefully they get a decent QB to make the games vs the packers atleast moderately enjoyable sometime soon.

  3. No surprise and I don’t blame him. Why not try for a longer-term deal? Will be interesting to see if he can make more than $3.7M in 2014 from the Vikes or another team.

  4. He’ll have a job somewhere. People forget he took a team to 10-6 (Patriots) and he took the Chiefs to the playoffs. He is not a miracle worker. He is the dreaded game manager. He is a perfect backup. If I were a team with a good defense and having to draft a rookie QB, I’d sign him in a heartbeat. “Matt, you are going to start the first X weeks, during the bye week, we are going to transition to the rookie. You will be the backup then. Average starter money is 10M, average backup money is 2M. So we’ll give you 6M this year with playing time escalators to 10M (for every start over X), and 2M next year with next year having a playing time escalator to 10M if you start 16 games.
    He’ll take it and the team wins. I see a Texans helmet on the man.

  5. Dude might not make more $$$ by opting out, but he will get himself into a better situation regardless. MN is a mess right now…

    Plus, they may have cut him anyways and he would have missed out on FA while teams pursued other FA QBs…

    So Matt Cassel…Good job by you!

  6. Smart move Cassell, well played. As many of you may know, the Vikings will be paying a visit to the WhoDats this year. In honor of the 09 NFCCG, it will be the WhoDats strategy to unleash the hounds and lay wood on the qb. Like Favre before him, Cassel would’ve got Jacked Up.

  7. When Cassell is the best qb on your roster you have much work to do! If he thinks he’s worth starter money, go and get it man! And I’ll take some of that nfl “medical marijuana” your smoking!

  8. The guy is delusional and getting some very bad advice. Next time you see him he’ll be wearing a paper hat and asking “would you like fries with that sir?”

  9. “Hi Matt, this is John Schneider, how about coming up here. You know we have half your old team mates here, We can give you lots of money and promise you a shot at the starting qb job.”

  10. There is more to life than money.

    He values happiness more.

    The Vikings were so stubborn they kept sending Ponder out there. When it was obvious that experiment was over with for a longtime. They must be ok with losing.

    Why would he want to stick around?

  11. A starting veteran quarterback is going to make more than $3.7 million. If the Vikings want Cassel to be their starter next season, he’s worth more than what his contract was giving him. He isn’t going to get more than that to be a backup somewhere, and why would he want to go somewhere to be a backup at this point? If he plays for a full season next year the way he played when he got the chance last year, he’ll be able to get a really nice contract next offseason. I predict he signs another 2-year deal with the Vikings with the option to get out of it again after a year.

  12. He’s basically giving up 3.7 million knowing that he’ll be lucky to be paid half that to be a backup anywhere else in the league. We all know that Minnesota is hands down the worst franchise in the league and utterly pathetic in every way, but when a backup qb walks away from 3.7 million just to get away from that joke of a team, it’s even worse than we all thought. Poor AP. He deserves so much better.

  13. Now while I wish I could opt of a 3.7mill work contract I can’t blame him.
    Starting this summer on softknocks the Minnesota Vikings! A

  14. Cassel is going to negotiate a 2-3 year deal with the Vikes. He’ll start for most of this season, mentor the new guy and then slide into a backup role. He’s not dumb, he understands these are the facts of where he is at in his career.

  15. Matt Cassel the individual, is a good guy.

    But Matt Cassel the QB, is awful!

    Tony Romo is embarrassed by some of the boneheaded picks Cassel throws at the worst possible time.

    I wouldn’t have the guy in as camp fodder.

  16. Best story of the off-season this far;

    The Minnesota Vikings have a 3 way quarterback competition!Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Christian ponder. It’s gonna be crazy folks. The Vikings will draft defense this entire year in an attempt to be better at 6-10.

  17. Return to New England and backup Brady
    Then they could trade Mallet for a 2nd round pick and get value for him. Otherwise he will play out his rookie deal and move on anyways. Brady has a few more good years left.

  18. Let him go… We have so MANY deficiencies that we need to fill via Free Agency and the Draft. We can use the cap savings on other players. He was great as a backup, considering what we had. But he is not the long-term answer and I can’t see the value in retaining him.

  19. Cassel leaving just mean the vikings are going a different direction doesn’t mean our team a mess only the qb situation is otherwise our team is fine

  20. If Tampa Bay doesn’t want Mike Glennon, there are likely several teams that would. I would expect them to stick with Glennon and not bring in Cassell, unless it’s as a backup.
    TB seems to have a very good young QB in Glennon…they shouldn’t upset the applecart there.

  21. The Packers, Patriots, Texans, 49’ers, Chiefs and several others have all seen how important backups are. To have a good team lose only because of incapable QB’s is ridiculous. 3-4 million for an experienced/decent backup is well worth it.

    I’m sure Cassel will end up somewhere and make close to what he passed on. As an added bonus he’s getting out of MN, that’s gotta be worth a million or so, to a millionaire. Don’t forget this guy stole about 35 million from KC just a couple years back so I’m sure money isn’t his concern.

  22. He doesn’t want to play outside in Minnesota for two years and devalue the rest of his career chances. I wouldn’t either.

    The Houston thing sounds reasonable, but I believe he’s headed to the ATL. After Gonzalez said Matty Ice ain’t elite, maybe some vet competition at QB is what he needs in camp?

  23. The best thing he has ever done for his career his opt-out of his contract with this terrible football team. The best qb this team ever had was a Packer at the end of his career. I wonder what washed up qb they will have next season? Vick? Schaub? Jamarcus Russell?

  24. For those thinking it’s a risky move, consider that the front office may be in such shambles that it might be riskier for Cassel to STAY in MN.

    Maybe the complete lack of direction and ideas on the Viking QB carousel in 2013 was all Leslie Frazier’s fault. Honestly, I doubt it.

    It is a gamble, but in terms of teams I can only think of three teams with a worse Offensive Line/front office situation than the Vikes right now: Oakland, Jacksonville and Cleveland. Got a feeling he’s got enough friends around the league that he won’t land in any of those places. And if winds up back in MN, he’ll get paid more.

    Low risk gamble, in my eyes.

  25. What does it say about your team when someone opts out of $3.4 mil guaranteed money?

    That’s an aging group up there and in need if a lot of talent. That team is easy 3-4 years from competing with any of the other three teams in the division.

    But that Patterson kid is a STUD!!! I’m glad I’m a Seahawks fan. He’ll be in our team within 2 years.

  26. Cassel, that’s the guy who never played in college at SC. Couldn’t even beat out Lienhert. Even old cheaty Petey had no use for him. One so-so year in the patriot way, and started thinking he was a super star. Always was, and always will be nothing more than a backup QB.

  27. People here need to realize how NFL contracts work, Cassel did not have a guaranteed $3.7 million. That is a big cap number for a backup QB, so the Viking had a good chance of keeping him through camp and then cutting him. Since it’s incredibly difficult for a QB to run a new offense, he’d have very little options at that point. By opting out of his contract he’s given himself a much better chance to make somewhere around $2 million dollars and sticking with a team for the season instead of the veteran minimum if he was cut at the end of camp.

  28. Cassel isn’t even a good money thief anymore, let alone a good QB.

    The fact that he can get a job anywhere in the league is a testament to the total lack of QBs.

  29. He should go to Dallas. Romo is still banged up and is always guaranteed to miss some games. He’s not getting younger. Could do worse than starting in a bad division with Dez as your WR1.

    As a Giants’ fan, I wouldn’t want to see that happen. I’d rather Dallas scurry signing Jon Kitna out of 7th grade gym class again.

  30. A couple of things:

    First, in all fairness, it was Christian Ponder who won the Washington game, no Cassel.

    Second, it sounds like Cassel was worried about the potential of having his $3.7 million contract significantly reduced via a late preseason roster move that would have allowed the Vikings to release him and then resign him and significantly reduce his cap number.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much attention Cassel gets on the open market. Regardless of where he ends up, it’s hard to believe he’ll land a full-time starting job that isn’t just a grooming role for a rookie QB.

  31. People running off at the mouth should look and see who had the best record in the NFC North the last 8 games of season

  32. Vikings should offer the Cardinals their entire next three years drafts for a package of Larry Fitzgerald, QB Drew Stanton and RB Ryan Williams and become the dynasty they are destined to be.

  33. Perhaps the thought of practicing and playing home games outdoors in the MN winter had something to do with it.

    Dome teams kinda soft like that.

  34. The writing is on the wall, he is not going to be called up to Seattle, so he needs to find another AAA club that provides a better chance to advance to a parent club.

  35. Houston already has one overpaid mediocre QB in Schaub (that they’re hopefully getting rid of) and they need another like they need to catch the plague.

  36. All you people on here who think Cassel isn’t going to get more than 3.7 mil don’t know football. If he has the chance to start for a team as a stop gap measure, he will get roughtly around 7 mil probably with incentives for more depending on how he plays and how much he plays. If he takes a backup role with another team, he will get about 4 mil. Orton makes 5 mil a year as a backp. Cassel might not be a good starter for the year, but he is a decent backup qb. there are a lot worse backups in the league than Cassel. As an Eagles fan, I would like to see Chip bring in Cassel as a backup to Foles to replace Vick

  37. If any team pays Cassell even close to 3 million a year, I doubt the GM will be employed after the season.

  38. Everyone knows that Freeman is the guy for Turners offense. He has the arm to spread it out and his dismal one game try out was too soon and under arguably the worst offensive coordinator yet. Seriously the post it note play book is sad. That said Turner + Arm strength + actual NFL playbook = NFC divisional title.

  39. This isn’t a surprise… but honestly, most people expect him to resign with Minnesota and it’s new coaching staff.

    Frazier (yes, Frazier – not their GM) was the operator of the QB carousel last year. He’s gone, and Norv Turner is running the offense. He’d start day 1.

  40. I like Cassel as a backup, but I sure don’t see him starting anywhere next year. My prediction, he’ll get on somewhere other than Minnesota as a backup and make roughly half of what he just opted out of….

  41. Texans take Clowney #1, pick up Cassel and draft a QB in the 2nd round!

    “The lingering New England connection could lure Cassel to Houston and former Pats assistant Bill O’Brien. With the Texans, Cassel could be paired with a first-round draft pick, mentoring the youngster and possibly playing until the rookie is ready.”

  42. i live in Minneapolis and i think this guy was smart, yeah he could g potentially be the starter, but this late in his career he wants a team that will make the playoffs and the vikings aren’t even close. hell they are not even the 3rd best team in the division, so smart move on this guys behalf as long as he ends up with a contender. if not then he just opted out so he could get signed for more money else ware. the vikings organization is a joke and it starts with the owner.

  43. If that was guaranteed money, he should have his head examined unless he has an agreement somewhere else (O’Brien?).

    If it was non-guaranteed, he probably made a good move.

    He isn’t that good.

  44. at least a team will get it right. you bring in matt cassel as the stop gap to your young talented prospect. something scott pioli seemed to miss when he totally forgot about the second part of that plan. one must actually have a good QB prospect, or attempt to find one, not pass on Russell Wilson for a Tackle who spent the year on the bench

  45. This is one of those deals where you know you are going to get dumped so you break up with them before it happens to make yourself look more desirable.

  46. When Cassell started , the Vikings actually had a chance to win games; the defense failed in the last 2 minutes in at least 5 games plus Morrelli gave Baltimore a win.
    Yes, a new staff is coming in but you can’t blame him if he has a bad taste in his mouth. After all, it was Spielman who insisted on starting Ponder even after it became clear in 2012 that Ponder couldn’t do the job.

  47. Still remember when some Patriot fans were saying that the team should keep Cassel and dump Brady!

  48. “Then there’s Tampa, where new defensive coordinator (and former Vikings coach) Leslie Frazier could vouch for Cassel to coach Lovie Smith……”

    He’s going to Tampa, if Frazier vouches for him. Lovie Smith does not know QB’s, and could probably be convinced to bring Ryan Leaf out of retirement, (and prison), for God sakes!

  49. Once again, the Vikings continue to live rent free in every packer fans’ heads. See comments above…..No wonder they want the Vikings to move to LA. But then what would they do with all their spare time hangin out in their trailer parks??

  50. I can’t beleive the luck of Ponder. For sure he and Freemason were the odd men out. Now that Cassel is out, Ponder will get another chance at redemption. This guy has more lives that a cat.

  51. Can we please come up with something besiDes MN’s cold weather to continually bash us (resident MN ViQueen lovers) about, i just can’t take that level of wit, to come up with Minnesota and cold weather, what genious. i just don’t understand the hatred directed at my Purple VikQueens. it sucks but we’re just not good enough to illicit enough emotion to bring any literate person to hate right now. Zimmer should be bringing “you” their soon though

  52. All you Jack-Wagons trying to claim he’s trying to “get out of there” are just delusional. Sick of hearing everyone piling on because of a few down years for a team that has been the most dominant one in their Division over the course of their existence historically.

    He’s just playing his cards as best he can.

    He played passably in the games he was in. (The Washington one was pretty much Won already when Ponder went out)

    So, he’s figuring he can get worse than the Veteran minimum going somewhere else, and maybe more, and maybe a starting opportunity.

    AND.. he’s probably betting the Vikings MAY want to bring him back as insurance for more money.

    He really can’t lose as the FA market is not great right now. He’s as good/bad as anybody out there.

  53. Probably already has an under the table agreement with Bill Obrien in Houston. Pats connection and the transition to the #1 pick.

  54. This just goes to show why the Vikes are the best in the business. Such an excellent franchise and attractive team that even mediocre players decline to stay. The cream of the crop of the NFL where players happily and swiftly leave! Skol!


  55. the thing that kills me about this whole playing outdoors thing —–it isnt that bad there in november. now just supposin, what if their last four games they play 1 outside at the university, but finsih the last 3 in either a southern city or a domed team?

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