Tag You're It: Patriots Franchise Cassel

The New England Patriots franchised Matt Cassel today, keeping the talented quarterback from leaving via free agency in 2009. The move was not unexpected, but a but of surprise on the first day teams could make such moves.

The New England Patriots announced that they have designated quarterback Matt Cassel as the team's Franchise player for 2009. The move will cost the team $14.65 million, but will give them more time to see if Tom Brady can bounce back from injury.

Teams had until February 19, 2009 to place the franchise designation on players, but New England opted to waste no time in making the move by announcing their decision today - the first day the tag can be used. By designating Cassel as the Franchise player now, the Patriots will commit $14.65 million in guarantees to their young quarterback.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick couldn't be more pleased to be able to keep Cassel with Brady's timetable for return from injury still undetermined.

"Matt has been a pleasure to coach his entire career and last season in particular, when his years of hard work and commitment resulted in a most impressive performance," Belichick said via a team press release. "We look forward to working with Matt again in 2009."

Cassel is the fourth Patriot to receive the Franchise tag, joining kicker Adam Vinatieri, defensive back Tebucky Jones and defensive back Asante Samuel.

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