Chiefs Twitter Q&A: When will the Chiefs get a backup QB on a rookie contract?

Every one of Patrick Mahomes 50 touchdown passes in 2018

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has taken the NFL by storm in his first year as a starter, and his numbers back it up. Here is every one of his touchdown passes so far this season. Music from KillerTracks.
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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has taken the NFL by storm in his first year as a starter, and his numbers back it up. Here is every one of his touchdown passes so far this season. Music from KillerTracks.

It finally happened: The Pryor family made the journey to the Midwest to visit me.

Both of my parents have been to Kansas City previously, mostly stopping through on drives out West. They’ve had some Kansas City barbecue from Jack Stack and Arthur Bryant’s, so we’ve got a few basics already checked off the to-do list.

Other than the Big Slick celebrity softball game and Royals’ game, I didn’t do a great job of planning for their trip, so I crowd-sourced a couple things to do. Here’s what you guys came up with:

Yes. 100 percent yes.

My dad likes history, so I’m sure we’ll go to the WWI museum based on everyone’s recs. And what!? A Mafia tour at Union Station? That sounds awesome!

Shoot, if we weren’t going to the baseball game, we’d be there.

We’re walking distance to Betty Rae’s, so we’ll definitely make a stop there.

Weekend: planned. The Negro Leagues Museum is one of my favorite places in the city, so I really want to make it over there.

Yes. So much yes.

I should’ve started training for this visit months ago. We also already screwed this up because we had Chinese food for dinner last night. It was late and we were desperate.

That sounds awesome!

My dad is a HUGE NASCAR guy, so the Speedway ridealongs would be right up his alley.

Y’all covered a range of awesome stuff, but if you have other ideas, shoot me a note. Or, if you’re preparing for visitors of your own, feel free to bookmark this post. I’ll do another one next week letting you guys know what we did (and more importantly, where we ate).

And now, on to your questions.

I’ve been really impressed by John Lovett and Cody Thompson, both UDFAs who could have a big impact in the receiving game. Lovett is benefiting already from the lack of depth in the tight in group right now. In the practices we’ve seen, he’s gotten some time with both Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne. Thursday’s practice was a rough one for him with a few drops. He’s clearly a rookie, but I think he has a good chance to make the 53-man roster. Thompson is one of the guys that looked really good during rookie minicamp, and he’s had bursts of more impressive play during OTAs. Juan Thornhill didn’t practice yesterday with a tweaked calf, likely nothing major, but I’ve been impressed with how he’s been doing. He had a pick during rookie minicamp, and I think he’ll end up starting at free safety.

I think that’s a pretty accurate prediction. I asked safety Tyrann Mathieu about the chemistry among the defensive backs on Thursday, and he said that’s something that will develop over training camp, through the preseason, and even through the first four games of the season. And I think he’s right. I think the defense will be improved from last year, but it won’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution and a process. With so many new faces and a new scheme, it’s going to take guys some time to work out the kinks, but I think by fifth game, things will be going much more smoothly.

That’s a really good question. I think it could come as soon as next year when Chad Henne becomes a free agent. The Chiefs are obviously going to invest a lot in Mahomes — see: Carson Wentz’s $107 million guaranteed — and they’ll need to free up and many resources as possible to make that happen. Mahomes’ talent is unquestioned, but I think the team would like to see another season of durability before feeling completely comfortable with a young quarterback as Mahomes’ backup.

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While he’s not as dynamic as Mahomes, Henne is still a dependable backup and would be capable of running the offense should anything happen to QB1. There’s no trend in Andy Reid’s past to define this. He’s done it both ways — in 2017 Mahomes was Alex Smith’s backup. But he’s also used vets like Nick Foles and Chase Daniel to round out the room. I think if the Chiefs need to save money for Mahomes’ contract, they’ll stick with guys on rookie contracts after the next 1-3 seasons.

The thing that would keep him on the 53-man roster is his special teams ability. Dave Toub really likes him, and he’s been a special teams captain in the past. If the Chiefs have room to keep him for that, I think they will. But I think he’ll be bumped down the depth chart at free safety as Juan Thornhill develops, making it more difficult to justify a spot on the 53-man roster.

I think the Chiefs are still desperately search for a tight end. With Travis Kelce on the mend and Deon Yelder also missing some of OTAs with an injury, the room is looking pretty woeful right now. I could also see the Chiefs adding some more help for the corners if anyone came available.

His is not a name that’s been brought up during the media availability at OTAs, and I haven’t noticed him much during some of the team periods. But I’ll ask about him during mandatory minicamp next week and report back.

A Kareem Hunt for Duke Johnson swap? If the price was right, perhaps. As a versatile running back with an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Johnson’s skill-set fits the Chiefs’ offense really well. But the Chiefs feel plenty confident in Damien Williams as the starter, and they’ve got some decent developmental prospects in players like Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and James Williams. Based on how Brett Veach has constructed the roster in the past, I think the Chiefs would rather develop these running backs through a competitive room than give up too much draft capital to bring in an experienced vet.

Honestly, it’s tough to tell because the players can’t practice in pads during OTAs. I don’t know that any one position on the offense looks greatly improved, but I think the defense looks good on the line and on the back end. We’ve seen a couple interceptions so far — granted both on Thursday were on the receiver — and the defensive ends doing a decent job affecting Mahomes’ reads. I think Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu have really elevated the play of both their positions.

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Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.