Lions bring in Matt Cassel for veteran minimum salary
Allen Park — The structure of Matt Cassel’s contract with the Detroit Lions indicates the team’s backup quarterback competition will not influenced by financial considerations.
Cassel’s one-year deal with the Lions carries a $1.015 million veteran minimum base salary, with $260,000 guaranteed. He also received a $90,000 signing bonus.
For cap purposes, the deal qualifies as a veteran minimum benefit and will count for $720,000 against the Lions’ cap in 2018.
Cassel is expected to compete with Jake Rudock for the right to back up starter Matthew Stafford. Rudock, an exclusive-rights free agent, signed a non-guaranteed $630,000 tender last month.
If Rudock is able to fend off the veteran challenger, cutting Cassel still would carry a $350,000 hit, approximately 0.2 percent of the Lions’ total cap.
Cassel’s contract is similar to one given to running back Stevan Ridley, during Bob Quinn’s first year as general manager. Ridley, who was cut toward the end of training camp, had inked to a veteran-minimum deal that carried $250,000 in guarantees and an additional $30,000 workout bonus.
Entering his 14th season, Cassel spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots prior to being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s served as a veteran backup for four different franchises the past five years.
For his career, Cassel has appeared in 106 games, starting 81. He’s completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 17,449 yards, 104 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.
Rudock, 25, was a sixth-round draft pick out the University of Michigan in 2016. He spent most of his rookie season on Detroit’s practice squad, prior to serving as Stafford’s backup in 2017.