Scott Pioli – King Of Thieves?

The remarkable trade that Scott Pioli just pulled off - acquiring former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel for a mere second-round draft choice - has left me wondering if the Patriots will file a stolen property report with Boston police.

How did Pioli manage to convince his friend, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, to part ways with Cassel and his favorite defensive player for KC's second round pick? It's almost too good to be true.

As rumors swirled about a deal for Vrabel Friday, there were rumblings that Cassel might be part of the trade. That information had many speculating that in order to pull off a deal, the Chiefs might have to swap first-round picks with New England and throw in another pick somewhere along the line.

I don't think Pioli ever offered, nor did New England ask, for the third overall pick. Instead, the Patriots were content taking the 34th overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft for Cassel.

Still, the matter of Vrabel had yet to be decided. But Belichick, apparently in a giving mood, threw him into the mix as a freebie. He'll instantly become the leader of Kansas City's defense and young players will marvel at his work ethic and passion for playing the game.

All you can do is marvel at Pioli's accomplishment. In short order, he landed the brightest young quarterback in the game, someone the Patriots' players said was their team leader the last eight games of 2008. Now the Chiefs have the opportunity to do something they've never before done.

If there has been a failure since the Texans moved to Kansas City in the 60's, it's that the franchise has never successfully developed a young quarterback in his prime. Cross that item off the list.

Todd Haley now has a young, smart gunslinger who can develop within his new offense. Cassel won't need to be trained for his new starting gig, as the Patriots took care of that for the Chiefs last season. That's yet another freebie courtesy of New England, which ironically came via the accidental hit from Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard that landed Tom Brady on injured reserve.

As free agency began Friday, the Chiefs were on the outside looking in on the high profile defenders. They had interest in Albert Haynesworth and Bart Scott, but whiffed on both. Perhaps, because they were cooking up the deal for Cassel and Vrabel?

This trade is something that likely would never have taken place under the old guard at Arrowhead. But that's the dimension Pioli has brought to the Chiefs. It's refreshing, and long overdue.

The fact Pioli pulled this on his old team is even more amazing. Clark Hunt ought to award Pioli another title - King of Thieves. Cassel and Vrabel for a second-round pick is nothing short of an absolute steal. The Chiefs have made a move that will have a ripple effect, not only within the organization, but around the NFL.

This bold move serves as a reminder that Pioli, despite the absolute lockdown of information coming from Arrowhead, clearly has a plan and he's going to execute it his way. Thus far that plan is working. He has a new young head coach who already is standing up to the old guard, who isn't afraid to speak his mind to a team leader at the risk of it leaking to the media. That speaks volumes about Haley.

Now his boss has handed him more tools to get the job done, and in one strike, the Chiefs have upgraded their offense and defense. The best part is that they have kept the third overall pick in April's NFL Draft and quite likely aren't done wheeling and dealing. The King of Thieves may have a few more teams to work over.

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