Chiefs starting rookie Patrick Mahomes vs Broncos

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes /

The future is now for the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes

Having already clinched the AFC West division title, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid announced rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start the final game of the regular season against the Denver Broncos.

Starting Mahomes not only protects starter Alex Smith has taken a fairly meaningless game in terms of the standings into a critical one for the future of the Chiefs, Smith, Reid, and Mahomes. Smith is protected from injury in the meaningless game heading into the playoffs while the Chiefs get a close look at their best asset against a very good Broncos defense.

Kansas City traded up in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select Mahomes, who drew comparisons to Brett Favre, out of Texas Tech. With an incredibly strong arm and the threat of using his legs, Mahomes rose fast in the NFL Draft process.

Mahomes threw 93 touchdowns and over 11,000 yards for the Red Raiders in three seasons. He hasn’t played a single NFL snap since going to Kansas City, but has excellent teachers around him in Smith and Reid.

It’s widely expected Mahomes takes over the Chiefs starting job next season in place of the 33-year-old Smith, who is wrapping up his fifth season in Kansas City. Smith will enter the final year of his contract with Kansas City, and carries a cap hit of over $20 million. Should the Chiefs straight-up release Smith they’d save approximately $17 million, according to Spotrac.

Next: 2018 Mock Draft

Former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey could be interested in acquiring Smith for the Cleveland Browns as a mentor for DeShone Kizer or another rookie quarterback selected with one of the Browns two first round picks.

Denver and Jacksonville could also use a veteran quarterback next year if they can afford Smith’s contract.