The Kansas City Chiefs are set at the QB position. Patrick Mahomes is a generational talent and has already achieved unbelievable success in the NFL at a young age. The Chiefs will soon sign Mahomes to what will most likely be a record-breaking contract. It is fair to assume that he will be entrenched as the starter for at least the next decade. The future looks extremely bright for the Chiefs with Mahomes under center.
In 2019, the Chiefs experienced an unusual number of injuries at key positions. The NFL season is long, and injuries are unfortunately a part of the game. When Patrick Mahomes went down with a dislocated knee in Week 7, Kansas City quickly learned the value of having a reliable backup QB. Miraculously, Mahomes only missed 2 games. But had his injury kept him out longer, the Chiefs could have easily missed the playoffs without a competent reserve QB.
There are a few big name QBs that will test the free agency waters this offseason. Obviously, these players will not be willing to join a team as a backup. Players like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers will be starters again next season. There are even a couple of players that were backups last season that could get starting jobs next year, Teddy Bridgewater perhaps. If we omit the QBs that are believed to be starters next season there are still quality free agent QBs available that could be trusted to win a few games should Mahomes miss any due to injury. The following are 5 possibilities.
5: Chad Henne
Henne signed a two-year deal with the Chiefs in 2018 worth $6.7 million. He was brought in to back up Mahomes in his first year as a starter. Henne played well in the preseason both years he was on the roster. He looked to be a reliable option should Mahomes have to sit out. But Henne fractured his ankle in the last preseason game of 2019 and ended up on injured reserve. He was designated for return from IR in late October but was never able to surpass Matt Moore on the depth chart. While the Chiefs are most likely ready to move on from Henne, his knowledge of the offense makes him a viable option if they cannot reach an agreement with another player.
4: Kyle Shurmur
Shurmur would be a cheap option for the Chiefs. He is the only Chiefs QB not named Mahomes under contract and his salary for 2020 is $510,000. The undrafted rookie spent the season with Kansas City, mostly on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for two games while Mahomes was out and acted as Matt Moore’s backup during that stretch. He has only seen action in the preseason, but he played well. Shurmur is the son of former NY Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. Kyle is young and inexperienced, but he is being coached by the QB whisperer, Andy Reid. The Chiefs could decide to go with the player they are developing in-house as Mahomes’ backup.
3: Chase Daniel
Daniel played for the Chiefs from 2013-2015 and was the backup to Alex Smith. Daniel started two games during that time in Smith’s absence, going 1-1. He has a ton of experience in Reid’s offense having played for him. He also played for the Eagles and Bears who run similar offenses. Daniel is a decent QB and has proven he can win games when called upon. The main issue with signing Daniel is the cost. He must have a fantastic agent because he tends to make great money for a backup. Daniel signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Bears in 2018. In 2016, he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Eagles. With the other players Kansas City wants to sign this offseason, it might be too difficult to reach an agreement with Daniel. But he is a good backup QB and maybe he would sign for less money for a chance to win a championship.
2: Marcus Mariota
While this is very unlikely to happen, it is an intriguing option. It mostly depends on what Mariota is looking for in his next opportunity. He has no chance of supplanting Mahomes as the starter. But if he were in search of a team to rejuvenate his career, Kansas City could be the perfect place. This is Pat’s team so all pressure would be off Mariota to affect the win-loss column. He would get to learn from a head coach that is known for resurrecting QB careers. Mariota would get the chance to watch film with a Super Bowl MVP and could learn new tricks to add to his skill set. And if the worst should happen and Mahomes misses some time, Mariota would get to show the league how much he has grown in his time in KC. It is possible that some other team is willing to offer Mariota a starting job, but it seems likely he will have to spend a few seasons as a backup first. Perhaps it could be with the Chiefs.
1: Matt Moore
Re-signing Moore won’t be as exciting to Chiefs as signing Mariota but is the most realistic option for the Chiefs. Moore has a year of experience in the offense. His number was called when Mahomes went down and Moore played better than most imagined he might. Think about it. Moore was thrust into action on the road in Denver. Granted, the defense played lights out that game, but Moore played great as well. Remember, this was his first real NFL action in over two years. The next two games he played against NFC playoff teams. The Chiefs barely lost to the Packers and they beat the Vikings. Moore made really great throws in all three of the games he played in place of Mahomes. His contribution to the team to keep them in the race for top playoff seeding should not be overlooked. Moore is the known commodity. It just makes sense to re-sign him to backup Mahomes.