Brace for it, because you’re about to read the greatest statement on the lack of depth among the available quarterbacks in this year’s free agent pool. Matt Cassel has been released, and he’s instantly a hot commodity for a team either looking for a quality backup, or remotely competent competition at the position.

Cassel’s release was inevitable of course, and it’s actually surprising that it took this long. The Chiefs’ Alex Smith trade was informally completed weeks ago, and then made official when the new league year began Tuesday. With Brady Quinn becoming a free agent, Cassel still had a backup job briefly behind Smith, and then he didn’t when Chase Daniel was signed. That’s why an era of futility after Cassel built up his price during one year in New England finally ended today.

But look at the quarterback market and its barren cupboards, with Cassel and Ryan Fitzpatrick sitting atop the list of sadness. Daniels was arguably the lead name on the board after the Dolphins re-signed Matt Moore, and since then David Garrard and Drew Stanton have also been snatched up.

Say what you will about Cassel and his inability to be respectful as a starter. But who would you rather have for spot start duty if your regular starter goes down: Matt Leinart, or Cassel, the latter of whom has at least started a significant amount of games recently?

At the very least, that now becomes a question to ponder in a posh office somewhere, a place where quarterback depth and competition is a desperate need. What say you, Vikings?