Matt Cassel won’t be a Patriot next season. I just had to come right out and say it before the season grew any nearer to completion and the question would come up. Matt Cassel will be franchised, then traded for draft picks that will help New England in the years to come. As such, let me just say now that we should thank Cassel for the work he has done to salvage the season, and the work he will do in the future to strengthen the team in other positions of need like linebacker and defensive tackle.

This situation, which will unfold before the 2009 draft, is a testament to how good Tom Brady is. Cassel, who has been improving week over week, is now playing with the poise and confidence of a true team leader. And next year, he’s going to be compensated like one and will be a starter. It just won’t be in Foxboro. So enjoy him while you can, America, because next year he’ll be in Detroit or Tampa. I shall henceforth call the 2008 Patriots Season the Last Cassel.

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