Patriots' Cassel, Vrabel Traded to Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs sent a second-round pick to the New England Patriots for QB Matt Cassel and veteran LB Mike Vrabel on Saturday.

Scott Pioli, Kansas City's new general manager, is already putting his stamp on the Chiefs' organization with a trade that provides immediate value to the club.

Pioli only surrendered a second-round choice (34th overall) to bolster the franchise's most worrisome position and their linebacker corps, sending the pick to New England for QB Matt Cassel and veteran LB Mike Vrabel. The deal is contingent on both players passing their physicals.

"I have a long history with both players," said Pioli. "Mike and Matt are men that I respect both personally and professionally. I look forward to having them as new members of the Chiefs family."

The addition of Cassel not only provides Kansas City with a legitimate starter, but experienced depth as it will likely push Tyler Thigpen into the No. 2 position on the depth chart. Thigpen logged valuable playing time in 2008 should he have to step in for Cassel at any point during the season. Last year, the Chiefs' quarterback position was decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness. When Thigpen eventually stepped in, the offense improved but was still erratic under his leadership.

LB Mike Vrabel
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The trade of Cassel, who was kept off the free agency market by the Patriots when they put the franchise tag on him, certainly indicates that the team is confident about veteran QB Tom Brady's progress from his season-ending Week 1 knee injury. Ironically, that injury was suffered at the hands of the Chiefs defense after Brady had attempted just 11 passes on opening day, and that allowed Cassel to step out of Brady's shadow and display his ability to lead an NFL offense.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback has played in 30 games and started 15 during his four-year NFL career. He's completed 62.9 percent of his throws for  3,946 yards, 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The former USC quarterback was originally selected in the seventh-round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Vrabel is a 12-year veteran with 176 games appearances and 110 starts under his belt. He's played for New England (2001-08) and Pittsburgh ('97-00) prior to his trade to Kansas City. He was a member of four Super Bowl teams with New England and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad following the 2007 season.

The 6-foot-4, 261-pound linebacker has accumulated 681 tackles, 51 sacks, 11 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 47 special teams tackles during his NFL career.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can follow him on Twitter for NFL updates and insights. And you can contact him by email through this link.

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