FRIDAY, 10:45am: Cassel has officially exercised his right to void the final year of his contract, and will become a free agent next month, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
WEDNESDAY, 8:17am: While Matt Cassel has another year remaining on his contract with the Vikings, the deal allows him to opt out and become a free agent this offseason if he decides to void it by this Friday. And that’s exactly what he’ll do, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Jennie Olson of KSTP.com also hears from a source that Cassel has decided to void his contract.
Cassel’s deal included a $3.15MM base salary and a $3.7MM overall cap number for 2014, so if and when he officially voids the contract, he’ll be looking to sign a deal that increases that salary or at least gives him a little more long-term security. The 31-year-old had an unexpected run as the Vikings’ starter this season and played reasonably well, completing 60.2% of his passes to go along with 1,807 yards and 11 TDs (to nine INTs). That performance would make him a strong backup for nearly any team in the league, and could result in a starting opportunity, depending on where he signs.
As Wolfson notes in his tweet, Cassel may ultimately end up back on a new deal with the Vikings, who will be looking for a long-term solution at quarterback after underwhelming showings by Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman. The ex-Chiefs QB may not be that long-term answer in Minnesota, but he provided the club its most consistent production at the position in 2013, which should at least be enough to earn him a chance to compete for a starting role if he returns.