Cassel trade opens new offseason possibilities

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Albert Haynesworth's gargantuan contract has been eclipsed as the offseason's biggest blockbuster deal.

The New England Patriots are comfortable enough with the rehabilitation of Tom Brady's rebuilt left knee that they have traded high-profile backup Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs sent their second-round pick, No. 34 overall, to the Patriots to acquire their desperately needed quarterback and linebacker Mike Vrabel.

If the trade goes through, then it dramatically will change the offseason possibilities for both clubs and send ripples throughout the league.

Here are some consequences to consider:

  • The Patriots have unbridled themselves from Cassel's one-year, $14.65 million contract.

  • They now have that much more to spend on free agents and have greater flexibility in giving players already on their roster contract extensions.

  • Brady's knee still offers no guarantees. New England needs a new backup quarterback unless it's comfortable with second-year pro Kevin O'Connell in that role and Matt Gutierrez third.

  • With one less team in need of a quarterback, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman likely will slide in the draft because the Chiefs won't be using the No. 3 pick on another one.

  • More draft picks for the Patriots mean they can continue to get younger.