Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel (16) passes the game in the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cassel was the Vikings’ best QB in 2013, but he’s about to become a free agent. Cassel, who had until Friday to make a decision on an opt out clause in his contract, will reportedly go ahead and void the final year of his two year deal with Minnesota.
Cassel’s deal would have paid him $3.7 million for 2014 (only $500,000 of which was guaranteed), but with several teams needing a QB and the free agent pool being a little thin at that position, Cassel might figure he can score a better deal on the open market.
It could also be that Cassel is negotiating a new deal with the Vikings that would give him more guaranteed dollars. The Vikings reportedly are interested in retaining Cassel.
When Cassel’s deal voids, Christian Ponder will be the only quarterback officially under contract with Minnesota.
The Vikings’ options at that position include drafting a QB with their #8 overall pick and/or dipping into free agency.
Top QB draft prospects include Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr. Top free agents include Michael Vick, Josh McCown and Matt Flynn.
A Josh Freeman return seems unlikely given the stories about Freeman’s unhappiness and lack of wortk ethic after the team acquired him in 2013.
It’s possible that Cassel, having been told the team would go hard after a QB in the draft, possibly even trading up to select their man, elected to opt out rather than be forced into a back-up role behind a highly touted rookie.