In a move that surprised no one, former USC quarterback Matt Cassel was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday with two years left on his contract.
News broke weeks ago that Kansas City had agreed to trade for former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith. That deal became official on Wednesday, the same day the Chiefs signed former New Orleans Saints backup Chase Daniel to be their No. 2 quarterback.
Cassel signed a six-year, $63-million contract with the Chiefs four years ago. At the time, he was coming off a magical season with the New England Patriots, leading the team to a 10-5 record as an unknown backup thrust into the spotlight when Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener.
Before that, though, Cassel had completed just 22 of 39 passes for 153 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in his previous three seasons with the Patriots. And that was after four years of sitting behind Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC, where he completed 20 of 33 passes for 192 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
But now he's a four-year starting quarterback in the NFL, a stint that included a Pro Bowl selection and playoff appearance in 2010. The other years didn't work out so well, as Cassel eventually lost his starting job to Brady Quinn midway through last season.
He finishes his time with the Chiefs with a 19-28 record after having thrown for 59 touchdowns and 44 interceptions with a 57.4 completion percentage and 77.5 passer rating.
Cassel ought to land on his feet. While his days as a franchise quarterback might be over, some team will likely snatch him up as a reliable backup. After all, he's got plenty of playing experience, something that could not have been said of him four years ago.