The Kansas City Chiefs need a replacement for Chad Henne. Could a recently-cut veteran be the answer to back up Patrick Mahomes?
Marcus Mariota quit on the Atlanta Falcons. It’s as simple as that.
Yes, Mariota was dealing with an injury, but he also left the team facility and never came back after he was demoted to backup signal-caller in favor of rookie Desmond Ridder. The Cincinnati product was the future in the ATL, and they had to give Ridder a chance to shine.
Mariota is a former top-5 pick himself. Injuries derailed his career in Tennessee, and the former Oregon Ducks star never really recovered. Entering this free agency cycle, there’s no question that Mariota will be forced into a backup stint, at least for this year.
Chiefs: Marcus Mariota makes sense to back up Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City isn’t working with a ton of cap space, especially if they want to sign some of their top-tier free agents. On offense, Orlando Brown, Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster are all free agents.
Brown will at worst be franchised again, but that still doesn’t leave KC and Brett Veach with much wiggle room. A potential solution to that — even if Veach doesn’t want to broach the subject publicly — is Mahomes taking a pay cut.
“I don’t know,” Veach said. “I mean, it’s a fair question, it’s a good question. On one end, we have Pat’s deal done. On the other end, we’ll certainly have to monitor the rest of these deals. We have a lot of years with Pat’s contract and that’s something we’ll have to readjust as time goes on. We’ll just see. I mean all these teams are structurally different, how (the teams) handle contracts are different. The cash flows are different. So, it’ll be an interesting timeframe. We had to go through that hurdle there, now Cincinnati and (Los Angeles) and these teams have to go through that there.”
Mahomes signed his $500 million deal in 2020, but he also understands that means he may need to take a pay cut every now and then to give the Chiefs some flexibility to add to the payroll. A backup quarterback that KC can count on is important, and therefore might take some sacrifice from Mahomes himself.
Mariota would be an excellent choice. He has the mobility to play in a Mahomes-style offense without a dramatic dropoff. He could learn from some of the best offensive coaches in football, specifically Andy Reid and Matt Nagy.
What’s not to love?