When discussing voidable contracts the other day we made note that Matt Cassel of the Vikings had the option to void his deal this week. According to Darren Wolfson it sounds as if Cassel is leaning towards doing just that. Minnesota is going through many changes this year as they brought in a new coaching staff and will be moving outdoors for the foreseeable future, two items that may have led to the decision. Cassel, who went 3-3 as a starter last season on a bad Vikings team, might see 2014 as his best opportunity to cash in, especially given the poor QB market in free agency.
Cassel was scheduled to earn $3.7 million from the Vikings in 2014 with an opportunity to earn $500,000 more in incentives. For a backup QB that is a higher end salary which means Cassel has to believe that either the Vikings or another team will pay him low level starter money. It’s certainly a risk as last season the top high end backup QB signings were Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Moore. Hasselbeck earned $5 million from the Colts and Moore $4 million from the Dolphins. Cassel was third at $3.7 million. Other names such as Kevin Kolb and Ryan Fitzpatrick took deals for much less money.
While teams like the Raiders with large amounts of cap room and uncertainty at the position could be interested in Cassel, many of these teams passed on him last season when they had an opportunity and it is hard to imagine 6 starts changing the opinion that much. Cassel has also only suited up for 27 games in the last three seasons which is not going to endear him to anyone looking for a 16 game starter. So there is certainly a risk to voiding his deal if Minnesota will not be in play as a fallback position.
If there was in fact an indication that Minnesota wanted to start him this year he likely feels that he should earn more money from them. Carson Palmer, who is much higher regarded, signed for $8 million a season and $8 million in cash in 2013 with Arizona. Mike Vick received $7.5 million, a figure somewhat inflated by the potential cap consequences of releasing him. Those would be the top end numbers and I’d consider both very unlikely. Most likely he would be looking to top Hasselbeck’s salary with maybe some incentives to push him in the $6 million range.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.