Chiefs Rumblings: Will KC Draft a Young QB in Round 1?
By Nick Athan
The Kansas City Chiefs have tried their best to infer they are happy with Quarterback, Alex Smith. They have implied they’ve shown no interest in soon to be free agent QB, Tony Romo. They’ve also hinted they could draft a young QB in the early stages of nexts month’s NFL draft. For me, I’m not buying any of it.
Using political terms that have gripped our nation, I’m not buying what the Kansas City Chiefs are selling to their fan base. With the start of contact free agency set for this afternoon, General Manager, John Dorsey, Head Coach Andy Reid and Assistant Head Coach, Brad Childress have been huddling up to formulate their attack to their QB dilemma and free agency.
So, what does make sense?
Alex Smith – I don’t care which lips within the organization are moving about QB Alex Smith, if a team is prepared to give the Chiefs a second-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2018, they’ll land KC’s incumbent quarterback. I’m told between the four mentioned above, there is a consensus, Smith deserves a chance to start this season, but it’s not set in stone.
There are three teams in the running for Alex Smith not named Kansas City. The San Francisco 49ers, currently without a QB on the roster, the New York Jets, stuck with a pair of young non-productive quarterbacks and the Buffalo Bills, who are leaning toward cutting their starter, Tyrod Taylor. If the latter happens, I suspect the Jets will swoop in to nab Taylor as their man in 2017.
Of the two remaining teams (49ers & Bills), both make sense for Smith. Each team needs a reliable game day manager to steady the ship until a young quarterback can be groomed under a new coaching staff. The 49ers hired offensive guru, Kyle Shanahan, in a move designed to develop the next young, Matt Ryan.
Same goes for the Bills. Sean McDermott is a young defensive genius but he could use a veteran like Smith in the huddle. If there’s an edge, oddly the 49ers seem to be a better fit. Now each team will likely take a young quarterback in the first pair of rounds in April, but will they use a first-round pick for a marginally gifted 2017 class of projects?
Either way you settle the dial of the Chiefs spin doctoring about Smith, there isn’t a prayers chance in you know where, that Smith will ever lead Kansas City to anything other than broken hearted disappointment, when it comes to January playoff football. Further, with Smith entrenched as the teams’ starter, I can’t see a single scenario, that even gets KC to the post season this year.
Tony Romo – Not going to say much more than I’ve already stated. He is interested in the Chiefs, and I think the Broncos flirtation is a smoke screen. With some free agent defections on defense, a horrific offensive line, Denver is NOT the team to beat for the AFC West title in 2017 – that distinction goes to the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders. The Broncos have a rookie head coach, two young quarterbacks and are facing a mini rebuild this season. If they do it right, Denver could be the favorites again to win the AFC West in 2018.
To me, the only place Romo makes sense is in Kansas City or Houston. With a young offensive line, the games fastest receiver, best tight end in the game (when motivated), and a solid running back tandem, where else can he find the protection and offensive coaching, he needs to resurrect his ailing NFL Career – and that gives KC the edge over the Texans?
Will Chiefs Take a QB in Round One? – Seriously, do I really need to answer this question? For an organization, stuck on acquiring other teams starting quarterbacks, this simply is the biggest slap in the face the Chiefs nation will get this off-season. What the Chiefs brass is selling as plausible, drafting a quarterback at pick #27 in round one or two, simply is toying with the emotions of its quarterback of the future starved fan base.
They’ve interviewed all the top quarterbacks at the NFL Combines, and will bring some of them into Kansas City for some face to face time, but only two of them fit Reid’s system, Clemson QB, DeShaun Watson and North Carolina QB, Mitch Trubisky. On the outside of that bubble, I’d add Texas Tech QB, Pat Mahomes and California QB, Davis Webb.
Watson and Trubisky will be the first quarterbacks taken, most likely in the top ten, with either likely landing in San Francisco or Buffalo respectively. Now if Watson slides, which scouts still are deciphering his outstanding workouts at the NFL Combines, he’s a no-brainer for KC. As for Mahomes, he’s a solid young quarterback that might slide, but not likely past the Houston Texans who have a selection at #25. So, KC would have to move up picks #22 (Dolphins) or #23 (Giants) to get Mahomes (Raiders have #24), because I can’t see the Texans passing on the in-state quarterback at #25, even should they acquire Tony Romo.
Webb has a decent arm, good vision and relatively strong (but not great) overall mechanics. He’s the longest project of the group. However, most teams feel he’s a third-round selection. The only other Quarterback, worthy of a risk selection at #27 for the Chiefs, would be Notre Dame standout, DeShone Kizer. The later has already indicated he’d love to play under Coach Reid. Then again, so has Watson.
Despite all that positive mojo, and the fact Dorsey has been spewing to the media not a single quarterback from this draft could be a starter for KC this year, I’m highly suspicious, Kansas City is serious about addressing their quarterback mess this year.
So why am I at this fork in the road? Two reasons.
One, the Chiefs have NOT begun contract extensions with Reid or Dorsey for 2018 and beyond. With rumors flying, Reid could land back in Philadelphia as the teams new President, and Dorsey quite likely returning to Green Bay, after his final year in Kansas City, their status quo approach to the quarterback situation seems the best fit.
Secondly, both men have put their faith in Alex Smith for 2017. I rest my case!
Dontari Poe Update – After working the crowd at the NFL combines, I’m told the agent for Chiefs Free Agent Defensive Tackle, Dontari Poe, didn’t exactly get the bundle of cash he wanted for his client. I’m told Kansas City is again taking to Poe’s camp on a deal that would average $7.5-8.5 million per season (roughly half of what his agent was shopping in Indy). I still say it’s remote this reunion happens in KC, because I think the Arizona Cardinals, remain the team to beat for his services.
Contract Adjustments – I’m told that Wide Receiver, Jeremy Maclin is open to restructuring his contract, shaving off some much-needed cap space before free agency begins this week. Same goes for Quarterback, Nick Foles, who despite gaining interest from several NFL teams, would like to remain in Kansas City. I’m also told that Guard, Jah Reid and depending on if the team re-signs, Dontari Poe, that Defensive End Allen Bailey, could be cut. One other player, reportedly willing to also help the Chiefs in the salary cap department is Punter, Dustin Colquitt.
Of course, the big cap savings would occur if the Chiefs traded Alex Smith or re-worked his contract. If the Chiefs do that, their commitment to Smith will extend though the 2018 season. Thus, with two days to go before the NFL league year becomes official, Kansas City has some work to do to be a modest player in free agency.