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Roster-Move Roundup: Cassel To Chiefs & More
Day two of the 2009 free-agent signing period brought us a third big trade and a few more signings. ... But after the first day of free agency resulted in Sage Rosenfels being shipped from Houston to Minnesota and Kellen Winslow from Cleveland to Tampa Bay, Saturday's deal has to be considered the most exciting of the three.

So let's get right after it, shall we?

We'll get the ball rolling in Kansas City, where New England and the Chiefs worked yet another deal, and this time it's a huge one. Quarterback Matt Cassel is a Chief.

The Chiefs get a starting quarterback and a starting linebacker, Mike Vrabel, for their No. 2 pick.

The Chiefs confirmed the deal shortly after it was initially reported early Saturday afternoon.

"I have a long history with both players," Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli said in a release. "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."

According to's Peter King, the Patriots originally dealt Cassel to the Chiefs on Friday for an undisclosed draft pick. It turns out the Chiefs will get both Vrabel and Cassel in exchange for the 34th overall pick in April's draft.

As King further suggested, "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.

Cassel played especially well down the stretch, throwing eight TDs and just one interception as New England won its final four games to finish with an 11-5 record.

On the other hand, quarterback was a major trouble spot for the Chiefs, who started three quarterbacks during a franchise-worst 2-14 campaign.

Tyler Thigpen got the bulk of the starts in the second half and played decently, but the Chiefs lost six of their last 10 games by seven points or fewer.

According to Kansas City Star beat writer Adam Teicher, Cassel immediately becomes the Chiefs' starter.

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 Falcons got two second-round picks from Houston for a far less experienced quarterback, Matt Schaub.

According to King, 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.

King went on to explain 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.

That explanation at least offers some insight into what appears to be a very lopsided deal.

As's Mike Florio pointed out this morning, a second-round pick, for a guy who merited a $14.65 million, one-year contract based on his play in 2008 is a pretty darned good deal.

Remember: Daunte Culpepper with blown-out knee was traded for a second-round pick. A.J. Feeley was traded for a second-round pick.

So, as Florio summed up: "With all due apologies to the Patriots, the current score is Pioli 1, Pats 0. ..."

In Dallas. ... The Cowboys reportedly addressed a glaring need, acquiring quarterback Jon Kitna in a trade with the Lions on Saturday. In return, the Cowboys have given up starting cornerback Anthony Henry, who started all 16 games in 2008.

The Cowboys were in desperate need of a backup quarterback, particularly after releasing veteran Brad Johnson on Thursday.

A 12-year veteran, Kitna spent the last three seasons with the Detroit Lions. He was benched early last season and eventually placed on injured reserve with a back injury.

Kitna, 36, threw for over 4,000 yards in 2006 and 2007 with the Lions in Mike Martz' pass-happy offense.

In his 12 seasons with the Lions, Cincinnati and Seattle, Kitna has thrown for 27,293 yards with 152 touchdowns and 151 interceptions.

Dallas' shortcomings at the position were exposed last season when starter Tony Romo missed three games with a fractured pinkie. ...

Dallas also signed free-agent linebacker Keith Brooking to a three-year contract. Brooking, released Friday by Atlanta, played all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Falcons and was the last remaining player from their Super Bowl team a decade ago. ...

In Detroit. ... The Lions have had a taste for first-round receivers. And as Florio first reported, the team has added another one. According to Florio, Bryant Johnson has agreed to terms on a three-year, $9 million deal.

Johnson was a first-round selection of the Cardinals in 2003, but he was overshadowed by 2003 second-rounder Anquan Boldin and 2004 first-rounder Larry Fitzgerald.

Johnson joined the 49ers via free agency in 2008, under a one-year deal. ...

In San Francisco. ... According to's Alex Marvez, wide receiver Brandon Jones has left the Tennessee Titans to sign with the 49ers.

Jones received a five-year, $16.5 million contract with $5.4 million guaranteed.

Jones is coming off his best season with Tennessee, which is where he played his first four NFL seasons. Jones caught a career-high 41 passes for 449 yards and one touchdown while starting seven of 16 games.

The 49ers were in the market for a veteran wide receiver with 36-year-old Isaac Bruce contemplating retirement and Johnson moving on to Detroit. ...

Other moves of interest today. ...

The Broncos continued their roster overhaul by signing seven-time Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but multiple media outlets reported it was for five years and $17 million.

Dawkins, 35, spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles where he was the heart and soul of the club's defense and one of the most popular players in franchise history. He was the club's all-time leader in games played (183). ...

The Texans made their first major move of free agency Saturday, signing former Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith, who appeared in all 16 games last season for the NFC champion Cardinals, recording 31 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks.

Terms were not disclosed, but the Houston Chronicle reported that Smith received a five-year, $35 million contract, including $12.5 million in guaranteed money. ...

The Jets shored up their shaky secondary Saturday, acquiring two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard from the Philadelphia Eagles for undisclosed draft picks. The deal was completed Saturday after New York re-signed guard Brandon Moore earlier in the day and signed former Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott on Friday. ...

The Rams made their first move of free agency, signing center Jason Brown to a five-year deal on Saturday. Financial terms were not disclosed but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported it was worth $37.5 million, including $20 million guaranteed. ...

Geoff Hangartner, who's played both center and guard during his previous four years with the Carolina Panthers, will take over at center after signing a four-year deal with Buffalo on Saturday. Financial terms were not announced. ...

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday re-signed safety Will Allen to a one-year contract. The contract is worth a maximum of $2.35 million, according to the Tampa Tribune. ...

And finally, the New York Giants bolstered their defense Saturday, signing former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Michael Boley to a five-year, $25 million contract. The 26-year-old Boley is excellent in pass coverage and he is expected to be given a shot at winning the weakside job. He played the strongside for Atlanta.

The Giants also signed defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. ...

That's it for this installment. ... Once again, I'll remind those interested in following along more closely to keep an eye on the News & Views and ESPN News Feed sections of the site.

Those looking for a full accounting of this year's movement will find it on the Free Agency page.

And of course, I'll remind you to check here in the Headline News section for more details stories and in-depth analysis -- including the Weekly Fantasy Notebook -- throughout the offseason.