Cassel to make $14.65M next season
The next step is for the Patriots to send Cassel a contract. Cassel effectively will not be a free agent come Feb. 27 and will not be permitted to shop himself to other teams. The Patriots could still trade Cassel.
Cassel had a breakout season in 2008, starting 15 games after starting none the seven previous seasons -- four with Southern California as backup to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, and three after New England drafted him in the seventh round in 2005.
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.