FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -The New England Patriots have placed the franchise tag on Matt Cassel.
Thursday's move means the quarterback remains a free agent, but the Patriots can match any offer made by another team or allow him to sign with that team in exchange for two first-round draft picks.
If and when he signs the one-year franchise tag designation, worth $14.65 million for 2009, he will be under contract to the Patriots, who could keep him or trade him.
Cassel's stock soared last season after he took over for Tom Brady, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening game. Cassel helped the Patriots to an 11-5 record, but they missed the playoffs.

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