Rumors about the Kansas City Chiefs being interested in drafting a quarterback in Friday’s 1st round have been swirling around the last couple of days. Many think the Chiefs are just putting up a pre-draft smokescreen. However, the rumors are impossible to completely dismiss because GM John Dorsey drafted Aaron Rodgers in the 1st round in 2005 with Brett Favre on the roster. Furthermore, coach Andy Reid has a long history of stockpiling QBs behind his starter.
What I want to look at in this article is reasons why would the Chiefs draft a high-round QB.
1) Too good a bargain to pass up–this is sort of the Aaron Rodgers reason. If John Dorsey really likes a QB and considers him too good a value to pass up, he just might take him. Teddy Bridgewater seems to be the poster child for this phenomenon. Like Rodgers, Bridgewater was rumored to be a potential no. 1 overall and has seemingly dropped late in the evaluation process. Johnny Manziel could drop due to concerns about his off-the-field behavior and youth.
Either of these two targets would be hard to pass.
2) Leverage against Alex Smith–Alex Smith is in the last year of his contract. Negative reports have surfaced about the ongoing negotiations for an extension. According to Ian Rappoport, talks about Smith’s extension aren’t going well.
Team that will consider a 1st-round QB: The #Chiefs. Negotiations with Alex Smith aren’t progressing well. Must keep long-term options open
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 5, 2014
Presumably, a “get tough” strategy would be to obtain a young QB to bring down Smith’s asking price.
I’m not so sure this logic is sound. Alex Smith had a solid season in 2013, and improved late in the year as he adjusted to the system. Smith is likely confident that there will be a ready market for his services next season. Drafting a young signal caller might make Smith less likely to agree to an extension and more willing to test his market value. A first round talent behind him could make him reluctant to stay in KC, where he will be constantly looking over his shoulder.
3) Unhappiness with Tyler Bray–After Chase Daniel‘s solid performance in his first NFL start against San Diego, he seems fairly secure as the Chiefs backup signal caller for at least one more season. Yet, most teams like a young “developmental” quarterback on the roster who at least offers some promise that he can grow into a starting role.
If the Chiefs did not like what they saw of Tyler Bray in practice, and in meeting rooms, they could grab a rookie to fill this role–even as early as the first round. Andy Reid has had a long history of trading backups for valuable draft picks (though usually lower round picks)
4) Chase Daniel is too expensive–According to Over the Cap, Chase Daniel has a cap number of approximately $3.4 million in 2014 and $4.8 million in 2015. John Dorsey could decided that he’d prefer a Bridgewater or Manziel as a backup for cap savings. A 1st round rookie at no. 23 has been allocated cap numbers of $1.4 million and $1.8 million under the collective bargaining agreement. That’s a big savings over Chase Daniel—for what might be a player with more upside.
If the Chiefs cut Daniel this season, they would save $1.4 million vs. the 2014 cap. But they would save $4.8 million in 2015 when they will be looking to resign players like Justin Houston, Eric Berry, and the aforementioned Smith, to extensions.
Any single one of these reasons, or a combination, could lead the Chiefs to think a 1st round quarterback to be a good idea. In particular, reason no. 4 is a practical benefit for a team that might be juggling the cap to make everyone fit in 2015.
There are too many legit reasons to think the Chiefs might take a QB in the 1st round to dismiss these late rumors as a certain smokescreen. If the right guy fell to them, I can see the Chiefs pulling the trigger.