According to, in past years, some NFL teams have splurged on assistant coaches, overspending to get the guys who are perceived to be the best. The pendulum is now swinging in the other direction. Per a league source, salaries for assistant coaches are trending downward. On average, the salaries have reduced by more than 20 percent. In 2008, the assistant coaches' average pay ranged between $300,000 and $350,000. Now, the average number is between $250,000 and $275,000. It's still great money, but it's a sign of how the economic downturn has impacted spending. And it's another reason why coaches might benefit from a union. The problem, however, is that anyone who would ever take the lead in organizing the NFL coaches would essentially be sacrificing his own career. ... The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is that receiver Anquan Boldin wasn't a distraction in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. The bad news is that he apparently plans to make up for lost time. "I don't think the relationship can be repaired with the organization," Boldin told USA Today on Thursday (via Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post). "It takes more than, 'Well, we did you wrong and we'll pay you this.' It's not about the money. It was always about the principle. Guys being true to their word. I guess I was expected to uphold my end of the bargain, and it wasn't reciprocated." Though both receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Kurt Warner have said that Boldin needs to return, Boldin doesn't seemed to be swayed by their desires. Of course, if the franchise chooses to squat on his rights for the next two seasons, Boldin really doesn't have any options. He'll either play for the Cardinals at the salary the team has promised to pay him, or he'll play for no one - and repay to the Cardinals a big chunk of bonus money he already has received. Still, at some point, the team needs to think about getting what they can for Boldin, and moving on. Despite the fact that the franchise made it through one season with Boldin not wanting to be there, it's got to be hard for coach Ken Whisenhunt to have Boldin in the building after he said this in August 2008: "At this point we have no relationship, and I don't see that changing," Boldin said at the time on NFL Network. "It's just gotten to a point where I think lines were crossed. If you ask me, coaches should be coaches, management should be management, and I don't think those lines should be crossed. But when you cross those lines, you put yourself in position for things like this to happen." ... The Boston Globe is reporting that the New England Patriots announced today that they have utilized their 2009 franchise designation on quarterback Matt Cassel. The decision to do so is hardly unexpected and gives the club two main options - they can trade the 26-year-old quarterback if all continues to go well with Tom Brady's rehabilitation from a knee injury, or they can keep him. There is a strong possibility the Patriots will trade Cassel, though Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not indicate that as an option in his comment in today's press release.