The Kansas City Chiefs are locked into the AFC’s fourth seed, and because of that, rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes is getting his first NFL start.
Well, it took a bit longer than the other two first-round quarterbacks of the 2017 class, but Mahomes is finally making his debut. The Chiefs are 9-6 and winners of the AFC West, and head coach Andy Reid has decided this is a great time to get Mahomes some live reps, going against the 5-10 Denver Broncos.
Mahomes has not played a single snap since Week 4 of the preseason, when he helped to defeat the Tennessee Titans. The former Texas Tech star was the 10th-overall pick in April’s draft, with the Chiefs moving up 17 spots — and surrendering their 2018 first-round choice — to land him.
Kansas City has not started a quarterback that it selected in the first round since 1987, back when Todd Blackledge was under center. it has also been 30 years since any quarterback drafted by the Chiefs has won a game for the franchise, either in the regular or postseason.
Going into next year, the Chiefs will have an interesting decision to make. Kansas City can move on from Alex Smith and save $17 million, something that the team could really use with a tight cap situation. Still, Smith has thrown for 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, easily the best of his career.
Mahomes is only 22 years old, so keeping him on the bench to learn once more is an option, although smart money says general manager Brett Veach hands the keys to Mahomes for 2018.