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Scott Pioli, the Chiefs' new GM, solved the team's ongoing quarterback crisis by trading for Matt Cassel of the Patriots today..

The trade will have repercussions at the top of the draft because the Chiefs are no longer in the quarterback market, at least with the third pick. They now will have the option of picking either offensive tackle Jason Smith of Baylor or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

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In the past two days, Pioli, a former personnel man in New England, has traded for two Patriots. Yesterday he acquired veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel, who will help bring a better attitude and work ethic to Kansas City. The Chiefs gave up their second round pick -- the 34th overall -- to get both players.

Cassel replaced injured Patriots QB Tom Brady on opening day last season -- against the Chiefs -- and had a very strong season, throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also completed 63.4 percent of his throws.

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The trade also shows confidence that Brady will be able to return next season, despite disquieting reports since he developed an infection in his surgically repaired knee. And because they had placed the franchise tag on Cassel, the Pats also have plenty of cap space to dip into the free agent market.

-- Ken Murray

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