Examining the Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Options

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ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs finished the season with another disappointing playoff loss, this time to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The loss has left many to wonder if the Chiefs need to consider moving on from Alex Smith to try and get over the hump and make a long overdue Super Bowl appearance. Let’s kickoff the countdown to free agency by examining the Chiefs’ quarterback options and who some of the players that might be under center for the Kansas City Chiefs next season.

Examining the Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Options

Alex Smith

Alex Smith is the most obvious place to start when considering who the quarterback will be for Kansas City next year. Both head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have said that Smith will be the quarterback for 2017, but that does not mean the Chiefs have not at least considered their options when it comes to Smith.

Smith carries a cap number just under $17 million dollars, which will be the second highest of all players on the Chiefs roster. For a quarterback who many around the league view as a limited player, $17 million is a lot to commit to. If Kansas City feels like they have hit their ceiling with Smith, they have to consider every option available while the roster is still in a prime position to make a Super Bowl run. The Chiefs cannot afford another Divisional round loss next year while wasting a year of some of their key veterans.

Nick Foles

Nick Foles was signed last off-season to be a veteran backup to Smith, and it proved to be a worthy investment. Thanks to a Smith injury sustained against the Indianapolis Colts, Foles saw extensive time this season. In his one start this year, Foles threw for 187 yards and one touchdown. Foles did not have an overly impressive stat line, but was at least serviceable against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The problem with Foles is that his numbers fall in line with those of Smith. If the Chiefs are serious about moving on from Smith in 2017, it has to be for a major upgrade. There is little sense in the idea of going with a player who is riskier without having a higher upside.

Tony Romo

We cannot talk about potential 2017 quarterbacks without mentioning Tony Romo. Romo is coming off of a 2016 season that was over before it even began, as Romo was hurt in a preseason game and never saw another start for the Dallas Cowboys. Numbers wise, however, Romo is head and shoulders above Smith. In Romo’s career, he has thrown for more than 3,500 yards six times. 3,500 yards just happens to be Smith’s career high in passing yards, significantly less than Romo’s career best of 4,900.

There are clearly some flaws with Romo, most notably the injury history. Since 2008 (and not counting the 2016 season), Romo has missed 27 games due to injury. That is an eye opening number, and one that should give any team concern. Under his current contract, Romo has a $24 million cap number, which would be the highest number for the Chiefs.

Here is the one question the Chiefs have to ask themselves: if Tony Romo started the divisional round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, would the Chiefs have played in the AFC Championship game? There certainly has to be some who believe that would have been the case.

Draft Pick

This year’s quarterback draft class is considered less than spectacular, which is unfortunate for a team like Kansas City that needs to start preparing for the future. In the coming weeks, you will hear names like Mitch Trubisky, Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer. If one of the top quarterbacks fall to the Chiefs at the 27th pick in the first round, it might finally be time for the Chiefs to invest in a quarterback of the future via the draft.

The Chiefs have not picked a quarterback in the first round of the draft since 1983 when they chose Todd Blackledge. Andy Reid is often thought of as a quarterback guru, so a draft pick could start from day one. Ideally though, a draft pick will be able to sit and learn for a year before stepping in and taking over for the Kansas City Chiefs.

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