Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a knee injury. If he can’t play for a few weeks or longer, what will Kansas City do at quarterback?
Matt Moore played capably on Thursday night, in large part because his defense suffocated a Denver offense that went into a shell after scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game. No other quarterbacks are on the 53-man roster, and Kyle Shurmur currently is on the practice squad.
The Chiefs host the Packers and Vikings before hitting the road to face the Titans and Chargers, before the bye. Will it be Moore and Shurmur, or will they try to make a move?
There aren’t many moves that can be made, in large part because there aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around.
It makes sense to look for quarterbacks with ties to Andy Reid and/or those who have experience in his offense, but there just aren’t many out there.
Potentially available veterans include Ryan Fitzpatrick (who just reclaimed the starting job in Miami, but could be available), Marcus Mariota (who was just benched in Tennessee and has beaten the Chiefs in a playoff game, and could be available), Paxton Lynch (who likely will be waived sooner than later by the Steelers), and Cody Kessler (who was recently cut by the Patriots).
Nick Foles was drafted by Reid in 2012 and played for the Chiefs in 2016, but he’s on injured reserve — and he has significant guaranteed money in 2020. Eli Manning is rotting on the bench in New York, but he has a no-trade clause. Washington has Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, one of whom could be traded, in theory.
The strategy surely will hinge on the amount of time Mahomes will miss. That will be determined when he has a Friday MRI on his injured knee. Adrenaline, youth, and/or athletic arrogance allowed him to walk off the field after his kneecap ended up in a spot where kneecaps shouldn’t be; the real question is whether and to what extent ligaments were damaged as the kneecap moved out and back in.
If it’s a short-term absence due to the knee (he also has an ankle injury), maybe the Chiefs stick with the Moore and Shurmur show. If the 2018 NFL MVP will be out more than a week or two, a decision will have to be made.
Then there’s Colin Kaepernick. Owner Clark Hunt has said he’d have “no hesitation” to sign Kaepernick, but that was more than two years ago. Would Hunt and/or his football people embrace a player who last played in January 2017?
Again, the question of whether the Chiefs need to craft an emergency strategy depends on whether Mahomes’ injury is significant. If it is, the Chiefs will have an important decision to make.
Whatever they do, there’s a huge difference between Mahomes and whoever would take his place. Which means that the defense will need to continue to play like it did tonight in Denver, or the Chiefs will have no shot at getting to the postseason, 5-2 record through seven games notwithstanding.