Patriots vs. Jets Preview: Matt Cassel’s Golden Opportunity

Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel is poised to make his first start since his senior year of high school on Sunday, against the Jets.  While Cassel’s ability to replace Tom Brady has been covered in depth this week, another fact has received much less attention – Cassel is in the last year of his contract with the Patriots. 

Adding to the pressure of replacing the NFL’s best field general since Joe Montana, Cassel’s performance this season could make or break his NFL career.  A strong season could land Cassel a starting job with another team in the quarterback-poor NFL and the accompanying multi-million dollar contract.  Randy Moss has a history of making average quarterbacks looks good – remember Brad Johnson and Daunte Culpepper with the Vikings?  A poor season could relegate Cassel to clipboard holder or even his release from the Patriots, which many speculated would occur after his preseason performance.

Cassel backed up Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC and then Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady with the Patriots.  Now he has the chance to prove that he is a starting quarterback – and be paid like one.

Here’s what Pete Carroll, Cassel’s coach at USC had to say about him to ESPN.com’s Tim Graham:

This is the first game he’s going to start in a long time because he’s had the misfortune of being behind Heisman Trophy winners and then in the NFL behind the best quarterback that maybe ever lived…He’s had to wait forever. This is a kid that never gave in to that, persevered through all of that and continues to believe in himself.

And here is what Brett Favre told Graham about Cassel:

I don’t think I’m in a position to give Matt Cassel that much advice…I think he’s fallen in the footsteps of somebody who’s been pretty damn good. And he obviously handled himself well the other day.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] 14, 2008 · No Comments Patriots QB Matt Cassel took one more step towards securing a big money contact in free agency, throwing for 400 yards, including 3 touchdowns, and running for another 62 in a […]

  2. […] Sports Law has discussed Patriots Quarterback Matt Cassel and his golden opportunity of becoming a starting quarterback in the last year of his contract.   Having outperformed […]

  3. […] September, Cassel was presented with an incredible opportunity.  In the last year of his contract, at 27 years old, he was given the keys to a Patriots’ […]

  4. […] offense that rewrote the NFL records books the previous season.  Here is what I wrote about Cassel’s make-or-break opportunity before his first NFL start against the Jets: Adding to the pressure of replacing the NFL’s best […]

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