Despite their recent struggles on offense, the Chiefs are not inclined to make any switch at quarterback, team sources said, though the staff does remain very bullish on first-round pick Patrick Mahomes and his ability to take over as soon as next season. Mahomes continues to impress teammates and coaches with his efforts in practice and how he conducts himself in meetings and around the facility, and there is a strong sense that he could be a franchise quarterback sooner rather than later.
Even with their recent falloff in the passing game and running game, and with Mahomes' athleticism and huge arm, there is no movement to move on from veteran Alex Smith now and the only way he would lose his job would be to injury, sources said. Smith has tailed off from what was an MVP-like first half, with the Chiefs storming to a 5-0 record and being talked about as perhaps the best team in football.
They've gone into a 1-4 swoon since then and face a critical AFC game with the Bills this weekend, with the Chargers suddenly surging in the AFC West and the Raiders still capable of making a run, too. Smith has failed to maintain the big plays downfield that helped the team get off to such a torrid start -- the dink-and-dunk nature of the offense under him was part of the allure of Mahomes in the draft, as his gunslinger approach is the opposite of that -- and rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been bottled up as well.
Smith is coming off his worst game of the season in a loss to the lowly Giants coming out of the bye. He threw multiple interceptions, which is out of character for him. Coach Andy Reid was somewhat critical of his play after that, but Smith continues to get the bulk of starting reps and is entrusted with getting this team to the postseason.
However, numerous other GMs anticipate the Chiefs shopping Smith, who has one year left on his contract, in the offseason. He is signed to a team-friendly deal that is easy to deal, he would have significant value to any contending team that may want to upgrade at quarterback (Jacksonville; Arizona or Denver if they opt not to rebuild) and he is a proven, steady hand who teammates love and who protects the football (almost to a fault). The Chiefs seem poised to turn the offense over to Mahomes and it would be anything but a surprise should Smith leave Kansas City via trade after arriving there from a swap with the 49ers upon Reid's hiring.