Three games past the halfway point in the season, Matt Cassel has led this team to a very respectable 7-4 record and is keeping alive the hopes of a playoff berth. Funny...Didn't this happen seven years ago with Mr. Brady? History seems to be repeating itself, dontcha think? We all know how that year turned out, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to talk about what to do with Matt Cassel. Typical of many NFL organizations, New England certainly not immune to this, the condition of an injured star is kept under lock and key (the United States Government could learn a thing or two from pro football teams, I'm sure). The state of Tommy Terrific's knee is no exception. It's radio silence. It's all quiet on the New England front. We don't even get a sound bite or quick press conference with Tom shining those pearly whites. This makes it all the more difficult to formulate an opinion on his readiness for the 2009 season.
To add another wrinkle to the equation, Matt the Magnificent (I needed something with an "M") is a Free Agent at the end of the 2008 season. GASP!! Say it isn't so!! Yes, it is. This gives the New England organization some not so pleasant choices. Below are some scenarios I'm sure Kraft and son are bantering about:
- Brady's ready - Tom's rehab is successful and he's ready to take the helm during the 2009 season. Cassel rides out of town with a ticker tape parade in Government Center and the thanks of millions, not to mention a ginormous contract with another team.
- Brady's close - Tom is not totally ready, but will be early in the season. See above about Matt's ticker tape parade and mega contract with another team. Belichick decides Matt Gutierrez or Kevin O'Connell can ride out the first few games until Wonder Boy is ready.
- Brady's return is unclear - Cassel is franchised. Franchising a player is a mixed blessing. That player gets the average of the top 5 salaries at that position (probably 10 to 12 million for QBs), and can't be traded during the year. This has a huge impact on NE's cap space and would be an expensive insurance policy, to say the least. On the flip side, if NE wants to compete in "tougher by the minute" AFC East, we'll need Matt.
- Brady's out for 2009 - See above. Matt is most definitely franchised to get us through 2009. There's not a hint of wiggle room here, IMO. Franchise Matty.
- Brady's done - Bernard Pollard's hit was career ending and Tom looks forward to babies with Giselle. In September, we all would've had a coronary. Do you still feel that way? Make no mistake, Tom being out for good would be devastating to this blogger considering what he's done for this franchise. It would be a huge bummer. However, Matt has progressed to the point where he's a legit franchise QB and could carry this team. Cassel's offered a mega contract to stay.
Whatever happens, happens. There's just not enough info and I don't believe in reading tea leaves. Besides, there's still 5 more regular season games to get through and the playoffs. #16 is the dude right here, right now. Get 'er done, Matt. Get 'er done.