On the morning after introducing quarterback Alex Smith to the local media, the Kansas City Chiefs announced on Thursday that they have released quarterback Matt Cassel.
Acquired from the New England Patriots along with linebacker Mike Vrabel in exchange for the No. 34 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Cassel passed for 9,549 yards with 59 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in 48 games during his four seasons with the Chiefs. Cassel's top season was in 2010 when he passed for 3,116 yards with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Over the last two seasons, Cassel has more interceptions (21) than touchdowns (16) in only 17 starts, missing time due to injury and ineffectiveness.
Cassel had two years and $17 million remaining on his contract, which the Chiefs attempted to move to another team once the new league year began at 4:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday. By releasing Cassel, the Chiefs will save $7.75 million in cash ($7.5 million base salary plus a $250,000 workout bonus) and, unless designated as a "post-June 1" release, $5.875 million in salary cap room.
A "post-June 1" designation would clear $7.75 million in cap space in 2013, but Cassel would count $1.875 million against the team's 2014 cap.
Cassel's release has been expected since the team agreed to trade terms with the San Francisco 49ers to acquire Smith, who first-year head coach Andy Reid said will be the team's starter, possibly for the long-term. The Chiefs added a backup when they signed Chase Daniel to a three-year, $6.85 million contract that included $4.75 million in guaranteed money, including a $3 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary for the 2014 season.
As for Cassel, the 30-year-old will be a free agent for the first time in his eight-year career. Teams that could have interest in Cassel include the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, who currently are, or soon will be, looking for veteran backup.
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