Chiefs complete trade for Cassel

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The New England Patriots have traded quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for the Chiefs' second-round pick in the 2009 draft, has learned.

The trade is expected to be announced this weekend.

The Patriots originally dealt Cassel to the Chiefs -- now run by former New England vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli -- on Friday for an undisclosed draft pick. Now it has been learned that the Chiefs will get both Vrabel and Cassel in exchange for the 34th overall pick in April's draft.

It's a stunning acquisition for Kansas City. Cassel, who never started a game at quarterback in his career at USC, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 draft when Pioli ran the New England personnel department. He relieved the injured Tom Brady in the first quarter of the 2008 season-opener -- against Kansas City -- and proceeded to have one of the best seasons of any quarterback in football. He was eighth in the league with 3,693 passing yards and 10th with an 89.4 quarterback rating.

The move leaves the Patriots with three second-round picks in the 2009 draft and, as usual, puts New England in position to be a power-broker on draft day. No team has more than New England's four first-day draft choices; the Pats also have their own pick in the first round.

And the move also leaves the Chiefs' top of the draft intact. They hold the third pick overall.

The compensation is surprising, because two years ago, the Atlanta Falcons got two second-round picks from Houston for a far less experienced quarterback, Matt Schaub.

My take: Bill Belichick either didn't get a better offer, or he did one of his best friends, Pioli, a favor with a player Belichick wanted to put in a good situation; Belichick is very fond of Cassel. It would not be surprising to see Belichick make the deal with Pioli because both were trained under Bill Parcells, and Parcells always made sure he watched out for his lieutenants and helped them whenever it didn't hurt him.