In what many NFL pundits are considering a total head-scratcher; Matt Cassel has decided to void the last year of his contract with the Minnesota Vikings to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Cassel is now walking away from $3.7 million in 2014 as the quarterback had a team-option on the table that no one expected him to turn down.
However, the California native apparently wants to escape the bitter cold of TCF Bank Stadium and will now try to sell himself to 31 other NFL teams. After finishing the 2013 campaign on a strong note, Cassel shouldn’t have a problem landing another back-up gig someplace else. Yet, the quarterback definitely shouldn’t be expecting a $3.7 million deal from anyone.
Moving on, Cassel’s decision really impacts Vikes’ short-term and long-term plans under center. Of course, Christian Ponder is still on the roster, but it’s clear to see that Minnesota just isn’t sold on the oft-injured quarterback. Instead, the consensus up north is that the Vikings would be best off just furthering the rebuilding process by drafting a signal-caller with the eighth-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Now, we’ve seen quarterbacks taken in this slot before and the results haven’t been very good. For instance, Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans was taken with the eighth-overall pick in 2011 and he’s likely on the chopping block this offseason. It will always be risky business drafting a quarterback at that spot and starting him right away.
Moreover, Cassel’s departure should really put a pep in Vikings general manager Rick Spielman‘s step as his job future rests on what the team winds up doing at quarterback — both in the short-term and the long-term.