The Kansas City Chiefs are locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, so with nothing to lose – or gain – in this Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Denver Broncos, coach Andy Reid announced on Wednesday that Pat Mahomes will start at quarterback.
Mahomes, the tenth overall pick this year out of Texas Tech, will not just be making his first career NFL start, he’ll be getting his first-ever snaps: Alex Smith has yet to come off the field this season.
“Every snap he gets is a valuable snap for him,” Reid said of Mahomes.
He added, “Fortunately, we have a quarterback who understands it [Smith]. He’s having an MVP-caliber year.”
Of Mahomes, Reid said, “To have the opportunity to be in the room he’s in is priceless. He’s everything everyone said he was. A great person. Works hard. All those things, we’ve seen.”
Accordingly, Mahomes will get the first-team snaps in practice this week, while Smith will run the scout-team offense.
Smith’s contract with the Chiefs doesn’t expire until after the 2018 season, but if the team wants to move forward with Mahomes, cutting ties with him after this year would lead to $3.6 million in dead money against the salary cap in ’18, not a terrible amount to carry on the books.
The son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Patrick Mahomes Sr., Mahomes II is listed at 6-foot-3. A two-year starter while at Texas Tech, he declared for the NFL after his true junior season. In his 25 starts, he was 752-for-1,164 (64.6 percent) for 9,705 yards, 77 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.
Mahomes set the NCAA FBS single-game records for passing yards (734) and total offensive yards (819) in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma in October 2016.
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