The Chiefs made it clear that they saw Mahomes as their starter of the future on draft day last year, when they used two first-round picks to move up and draft Mahomes. What wasn’t clear was whether Mahomes would start in 2018, or in 2019 after Smith’s contract with the Chiefs expired.
Now it is clear that the Chiefs saw enough of Mahomes, both on the practice field and in the Week 17 game he started, that they’re sure they can move on from Smith.
Smith threw for a career-high 4,042 yards, with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions, while leading the Chiefs to the playoffs. You don’t get rid of a quarterback coming off a season like that unless you’re sure the young rookie you drafted is ready to replace him.
So the Chiefs are sure about Mahomes. Ready or not, Mahomes is now the face of the franchise.