New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Brady’s Slow Moving Rehab May Mean a Return for Cassel

From: Providence Journal

Matt Cassel may be spending at least one more year in New England. According to a story written by reporter Tom E. Curran on Sunday, Tom Brady’s rehabilitation on his left knee is “well behind schedule,” and scar tissue and “looseness” in his left knee, where his ACL and MCL were torn on a hit from Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard on Sept. 7, could put Brady’s readiness for the 2009 season in jeopardy. … If Brady does not have the second surgery, the source told Curran, he would have to wear a brace on the knee, and the area would be susceptible to another major injury.

This is where Cassel comes in. If in the next month or so it becomes clear that Brady may not be ready for the start of the season — or even not able to play at all next season — the Patriots could decide to place the franchise tag on free-agent-to-be Cassel. That would mean a one-year, fully guaranteed contract equal to the average of the top five quarterbacks in the league; that figure would be around $12 million.

Brady’s base salary for next year is $5 million, and he’s due a $3-million roster bonus; in addition, $6.6 million of his signing bonus counts against the ’09 salary cap, expected to be around $123 million. If Cassel was franchised and retained, New England would be spending more than $26 million on the two quarterbacks. On NBC’s Football Night in America, Peter King reported that sources close to Brady are saying that is rehab is actually progressing ahead of schedule, and that New England is floating the story to increase Cassel’s value.

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