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Matt Cassel turns back on Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback Matt Cassel voided his contract with the Minnesota Vikings and will become an unrestricted free agent.

Quarterback Matt Cassel voided his contract with the Minnesota Vikings and will become an unrestricted free agent.

What on earth is Matt Cassel thinking?

That’s the question that has been on a lot of minds today. After days of media speculation, the quarterback finally made it official that he has opted out of his two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, leaving Christian Ponder, the 12th-overall draft pick from the 2011 NFL draft, as the heir presumptive in Minnesota.

By cutting up the deal, Cassel forgoes $3.7 million — and the inside track at a starting gig. In exchange, he must navigate the uncertain waters of free agency.

Making cents

On its face, the move seems a little puzzling.

If nothing else, the timing is peculiar. Based on his history, we can assume that the new sheriff in town, head coach Mike Zimmer, will attempt to liven the offense with a fresh infusion of receiving talent. Why would Cassel pass on the opportunity to play with what could turn out to be the best receiving corps he’s ever had?

It’s not like he’s coming off an impressive season. In six games this year, he threw 11 touchdowns against nine interceptions, putting up a passer rating of just 81.6.

Over 87 career games (68 starts), Cassel has averaged 6.7 yards per attempt and completed 59 percent completion of his passes, throwing 93 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 913 yards and five touchdowns.

He has lead a complete campaign only once — in 2011, when he took over for an injured Tom Brady — and since leaving the New England Patriots, has never started more than 15 games in a season.

So why does Matt Cassel think he’ll be better off as a free agent? Is this a case of a decent-but-not-great player looking the gift horse in the mouth, or is there more to this situation than meets the eye?

Possibilities, possibilities

While we’ll probably won’t learn the details for several years, if ever, we can certainly envision some scenarios.

Perhaps Mike Zimmer took Cassel aside and let him know he’d have to compete for the starting job this year, a prospect Cassel might find distasteful. He might not be a standout field marshall, but he certainly outplayed either of the other two quarterbacks on the Vikings roster.

Alternatively, Zimmer might have made it clear that he prefers to put his own stamp on this team and will be throwing in his lot with a hand-picked rookie. At this point in his career, Cassel may prefer to take a starting job elsewhere, even for less pay, than play mentor to a young upstart.

Still another possibility is that Cassel took a look at his own contract and saw the handwriting on the wall. Cassel was due a $500,000 roster bonus in March, and he may have decided that general manager Rick Spielman wouldn’t be willing to fork out that kind of cash for a one-year stopgap.

Faced with the prospect of being cut and having to renegotiate with the Vikings anyway, Cassel could have concluded that he was better off taking matters into his own hands and pitting teams against one another.

Head of the class

And he might just be right. A quick look at this year’s unrestricted free agent class shows that there isn’t an abundance of starting experience to be had.

At the top of the list are names like Michael Vick, Chad Henne, and Josh Freeman. Other prospects include Josh McCown and Shaun Hill (arguably two of the best backups in the league), Matt Flynn, and Kellen Clemens. This is not exactly rarified air we’re talking about here.

By my count, there are at least seven or eight teams — including the Vikings themselves — who could in the market for a starting quarterback. At most, three or four rookies will be taken in the first round, meaning there aren’t enough quality quarterbacks to go around.

Believe it or not, Matt Cassel could turn out to be the marquee quarterback free agent of 2014.

Although $3.7 million is a lot to pay for a backup, it’s downright cheap for a starter. If Cassel can trigger even a lukewarm bidding war, he will come out ahead. At the very least, he’ll have a chance to negotiate better job security than he was facing in Minnesota.

It’s definitely a gamble, but Cassel may not have that much to lose.

Fond farewells

So is there any chance we’ll see Matt Cassel back in the NFC North this year? That depends on how determined he is to start.

The only divisional team looking for a starter right now is Minnesota. Each of the other teams is committed to their lead man and has re-signed him to a lucrative deal within the past 12 months.

On the other hand, all four teams are in the market for backups.

Although Detroit would no doubt love to keep Shaun Hill as insurance behind Matthew Stafford, he is probably going to command more than they’ll be willing to pay a second stringer.

Josh McCown got a taste of what it’s like to be the top dog when Jay Cutler went down, and he wants more. He’d rather retire than take a second-string job in Chicago.

While he showed flashes of promise for Green Bay, the raw and erratic Scott Tolzien needs at least another year of seasoning before he can step into the No. 2 role. Matt Flynn might be worth more to the Packers than any other team, but they’ll be casting around for a steadier option if one is to be found.

And then there’s Minnesota, where the larder is almost as bare as the Vikings’ Super Bowl trophy case. Despite the desperate lack of talent under center, however, it’s hard to see Rick Spielman extending Cassel an offer unless he has no other choice. He’s given no indication he has any special fondness for players who play hard to get.

In the end, it looks like the Vikings will be starting over at the quarterback position. Again. For some reason, that’s just what they do.

1647 comments
The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

One of my friends mentioned to me that his ex shaved her pubes into a heart last V-day.  Is that romantic or what?

Cheeky Bastard
Cheeky Bastard

I judge all of you and have never met you.

Fuckers

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

"Based on the ubiquitous lock-block toy and licensed with many of pop-culture's most ubiquitous heroes, "The LEGO Movie" is a sly Trojan horse of a movie. "Using the building-block world of LEGO to parody the creeping conformity of our world, 'The LEGO Movie' proves even more biting than 'WALL-E,' because it has the sauciness to send up its own rise-of-a-hero story line," writes EW's Owen Gleiberman."


From here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/07/showbiz/movies/lego-movie-reviews-ew/


The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

I like how we're judging a movie most of us haven't seen yet.

Andylet445
Andylet445

Siskel and Ebert are rolling over in their graves over these Legos reviews.  

BlutosPackers
BlutosPackers

Good mornin ya bunch a no good goddamned sons a bitches!

Dom Capers Did Nothing Wrong
Dom Capers Did Nothing Wrong

General audiences gave The Lego Movie a 93%.

Critics gave it a 95%.

Top critics gave it a 97%.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

smtate91
smtate91

At 10 o'clock? What a hipster.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@niemerg1  i got my house set at 62, just get some damn blankets and a snuggie 

smtate91
smtate91

THEN STOP EATING LUNCH SO EARLY YOU DAMN HIPSTER.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

Legos are the medium.  There is an actual story to be told, albeit one that looks pretty cliched.