Patriots’ trade with Chiefs is a money-saver

For the past 24 hours, it has been pointed out that trading QB Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs freed up $14.65 million against the New England Patriots’ salary cap.

But LB Mike Vrabel also was included in the deal, and trading him freed up another $3.35 million against the cap.

So with one trade, the Patriots saved a whopping $18 million that they can now use on other players. And it doesn’t look like they will waste a lot of time. Former Washington Redskins CB Shawn Springs is scheduled to visit the Patriots today.

Texans find backup QB in ex-Lion Orlovsky

After trading Sage Rosenfels to the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, the Houston Texans needed a backup quarterback. They got one on Sunday, signing former Lions QB Dan Orlovsky, who arrived in Houston on Saturday and signed on Sunday.

Orlovsky received a three-year, $9.15 million contract with a $2.4 million signing bonus. The Broncos also were interested in Orlovsky, a four-year NFL veteran who started seven games for the Lions in 2008, but Denver was outbid by Houston.

Buccaneers reach agreement with Clayton

Just as Buccaneers quarterbacks have turned to WR Michael Clayton, Tampa Bay’s front office now has done the same.

With Tampa Bay needing to use up some of its salary-cap space, the Buccaneers and Clayton reached agreement on a five-year, $24 million deal that includes $10.5 million worth of guaranteed money.

Incentives and bonuses can push it to $26 million, but the larger point is that Tampa Bay retained Clayton and WR Antonio Bryant when many wondered if either would return.

More signings from a busy Saturday

  • Free agent DT Rocky Bernard, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, signed with the New York Giants.
  • Cardinals free-agent defensive end Antonio Smith is now a member of the Texans. Smith signed a five-year, $35 million deal that includes $12.5 million in guarantees on Saturday.

Lions deal Kitna to Cowboys

The Detroit Lions have traded quarterback Jon Kitna to the Dallas Cowboys. The compensation is not available at this point.

Cutler upset over potential deals to Detroit, Tampa Bay

(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

There’s one story behind the trade of Matt Cassel to the Chiefs. There’s a whole other story behind that blockbuster story.

While New England and Kansas City were agreeing to Saturday’s trade of Cassel to the Chiefs for the draft’s 34th overall pick, there were more teams in the mix. Detroit, Tampa and Denver were involved in trade talks of their own also tied to Cassel, according to sources in the respective NFL cities.

Tampa approached Denver to try to make a three-way trade that would have sent Cassel to the Broncos and quarterback Jay Cutler to the Buccaneers. The Broncos entertained the notion and pondered it but ultimately decided against it.

Also, the Lions approached the Broncos about a trade for Cutler, trying to dangle Cassel as bait. Once again, Denver debated the deal and opted against it apparently. What made it a moot point was that while all Tampa, Detroit and Denver engaged in trade talks with New Engalnd, the Patriots went ahead and dealt Cassel to the Chiefs.

The Broncos firmly maintain that they never intended to trade Cutler, that they were approached to make the trades. But, as of Saturday afternoon, Cutler was angry to hear that his name had been floated in any trade conversations.

Now the Chiefs have Cassel, the Broncos still have Cutler and the Lions and Buccaneers continue their search for quarterbacks in one of the wilder and more complex behind-the-scene dramas the NFL has seen in any recent offseason.

Patriots trade Cassel to Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have completed a trade for New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel.  There is no new contract in place, but the teams have agreed on compensation — details of which were not immediately available.

But it is a done deal. Cassel is going to Kansas City.

Dawkins signs five-year deal with Broncos

Denver signs free agent safety Brian Dawkins to a five-year, $17 million deal that includes $7.2 million guaranteed. The contract also has escalators that could boost the value of the deal to $27 million over five years, but the deal also could be voided to two years, $9 million.

Lewis open to going back to Baltimore

When Ray Lewis‘ future in Baltimore was questioned, his former teammate Rod Woodson reached out to him.

After speaking with Lewis, Woodson reported that Lewis never said he wouldn’t return to the Ravens. He is open to go back to Baltimore. Lewis never told DeMarcus Ware that his dream was to play for the Cowboys despite published reports.

Lewis is in Florida with his kids relaxing and does not expect to make any decisions on his future until Monday.

Latest news: QB Fitzpatrick signs with Bills

  • San Francisco re-signed free-agent linebacker Takeo Spikes to a two-year contract.
  • Giants free-agent safety James Butler is visiting the Rams. St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo is familiar with Butler after coaching him in New York the past two seasons as the Giants’ defensive coordinator.

Redskins keep spending, add G Dockery

Washington’s wheeling and dealing did not end early Friday; it went into the night. The Redskins reached agreement with former Bills guard Derrick Dockery on a five-year, $26 million deal that includes $8.2 in guaranteed money. Combined with the $18.5 million in guaranteed money Dockery made from his two years with the Bills, he will have made nearly $27 million guaranteed in three years.

Eagles send Sheppard to Jets

New York and Philadelphia have completed a trade that sends cornerback Lito Sheppard to the Jets while the Eagles receive a 2009 fifth-round pick and a 2010 conditional draft pick.

The pick could be as high as a second-round choice in 2010 and as low as a fourth. But the Eagles will get two picks and the Jets get Sheppard, who was in New York Saturday for a physical.

Canty becomes popular after Haynesworth signs

After his Friday trip to Washington was canceled, free agent defensive end Chris Canty revised his itinerary. He now is scheduled to visit the Giants (Sat./Sun) then the Seahawks (Sun/Mon). The Packers, 49ers and Titans still want to schedule a visit but nothing has been scheduled yet.

Buckhalter, Arrington to Denver; Dawkins not done

Contrary to published reports, free agent safety Brian Dawkins does not currently have a deal with the Broncos. However, he is en route to Denver. The Broncos do have agreements with running backs Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington, according to the players’ agents.

Another Raven taking a visit to the Jets

The New York Jets are not finished trying to raid Baltimore for Rex Ryan‘s former players. Free agent safety Jim Leonhard is scheduled to visit the NY Jets on Saturday. Most people believe Leonhard will wind up signing with the Jets.

A couple of signings to catch up on:

  • Free agent safety Sean Considine signed a two year, $3 million deal with Jacksonville. The fourth-year pro has started 17 games during his NFL career.
  • The Vikings re-signed TE Jimmy Kleinsasser to a three-year deal worth $9 million. Kleinsasser was a second-round pick of the Vikings in 1999.

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