In 2017 and 2018, the Chiefs had numerous options they could have taken instead of the MVP frontrunner.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chiefs traded up to draft Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. To say that Mahomes was the only available option would be inaccurate.
After the 2017 season, the franchise was in limbo after another disappointing playoff finish against the Tennessee Titans. This article will look at a few different ways the Chiefs could have gone at quarterback.
Stay with Alex Smith
When the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, he was replaced by fellow quarterback Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco then traded Smith to Kansas City, where he signed a multi-year deal with the Chiefs.
For Smith, he was going from the best team in the NFC to the worst team in the NFL. The Chiefs went 2-14 and needed to make moves. Along with their new quarterback, the Chiefs hired head coach Andy Reid to help turn the franchise around.
Their first season ended with an 11-5 record but ended bittersweet. The team greatly improved and had one of the greatest one-year turn arounds in NFL history. In their Wild Card game, however, they blew a 28 point lead to the Indianapolis Colts in a 45-44 loss.
Going into the Mahomes draft, the Chiefs went to the playoffs three times over a four-year span. The team was successful enough to have an interest in keeping Smith around a little longer, especially since he helped turn around the franchise’s winning fortune immediately.
In his five seasons with the Chiefs, Smith threw 102 touchdowns to just 33 interceptions and went 50-26 as a starter, according to Pro Football Reference.
Draft Deshaun Watson
Coming into the draft, Watson was the much bigger star. Playing at Clemson, he was able to compete and win a national championship in a title rematch over Alabama.
Watson also finished second in the Heisman race, being edged out by Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. This combination of winning along with other national recognition made Watson a highly-touted prospect.
For a Chiefs team that needed to get over the hump, Watson could have easily been their guy. He was a winner, could put up numbers, an incredible athlete, and certainly passed the eye test.
Reid could have nurtured Watson into a Mahomes-like player, especially with all the current weapons being available to him once Smith finished out his final season with the organization.
Sign Kirk Cousins
With Smith’s contract being up after the 2018 season, the team could have looked to sign a quarterback in free agency for a long-term answer. When looking at the list, the top prize was then Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Washington was pretty mediocre with Cousins, finishing around .500 his last three seasons. In his last season under the franchise tag, he threw 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in a 7-9 season.
This move would have been risky, and more unlikely than the previous two. But looking at the weapons in Washington, there’s reason to believe their struggles didn’t fully lay on Cousins.
Sign Teddy Bridgewater
After a devastating knee injury, Bridgewater saw his time in Minnesota come to a close. He was replaced by Cousins in the open market and needed a new home for 2018.
That home could have been Kansas City if they decided against drafting for the future. Bridgewater shined in college, and though he struggled his first two seasons, so did Smith in San Francisco.
The Chiefs could have looked to make a move on the 25-year-old free agent based solely on his potential. Bridgewater eventually signed with the New Orleans Saints to backup quarterback Drew Brees.
After Brees was sidelined for five weeks due to an injury, Bridgewater shined. Going undefeated and throwing nine touchdowns on two interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference.
This proved that he could play in a winning system and makes you wonder what if the Chiefs made that risk rather than through the draft.
Of course, this is just a hypothetical situation, the Chiefs obviously made the correct decision by selecting Mahomes. The 2018 MVP has broken countless records and will more than likely continue on that mark.