For Pete's Sake

Denver’s Aqib Talib on Patrick Mahomes: ‘The guy got an AK-47 for an arm’

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. The Associated Press

The fans raved. Journalists were impressed. NFL analysts offered praise.

Chiefs rookie Patrick Mahomes definitely made an impression on those who watched his professional debut Sunday against the Broncos. But what about the opposing defense?

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib didn’t play all of Sunday’s game, but he came to a conclusion.

“I saw enough of Patrick Mahomes to think Alex Smith is gonna be a free agent next year,” Talib said Tuesday on the Vic Lombardi Show. “That guy can play some ball, Vic. ... He’s smart. I seen him checking protections, I seen him reading the defense. We know how strong his arm is, man. The guy is a competitor, so I think Alex Smith, he definitely might be on the market next year.”

The Chiefs could save $17 million in 2018 salary-cap space by cutting Smith after this season. That’s a fact Talib apparently knows well.

Talib, the former Kansas star, gave a high rating to Mahomes’ arm strength.

“The guy got an AK-47 for an arm, Vic,” Talib said. “He can throw it where ever he wants. It doesn’t matter if he’s running left, running right. It doesn’t matter. The guy has got a gun for an arm, and it shows on the field, definitely.”

The Broncos had three quarterbacks start this season, and none had a rating above 74.0. Lombardi asked Talib if he thought Smith might be the answer for Denver’s quarterback problem.

After a pregnant pause, Talib said: “Uh, I don’t know Vic. I don’t know.

“I’ve seen Alex Smith in that Chiefs offense. It’s a bunch of guys who can be successful in that Chiefs offense and go to another offense and not be so successful. Their offense kind of runs itself. As long as you get a guy who can manage it, it kind of runs itself.”

Talib’s future in Denver is in question, because he will be owed $11 million in 2018. While disappointed in missing the playoffs, he is eager to watch the postseason.

“It do suck, but I’ve got a great theater room, Vic, so I turn into a fan and I’m going to enjoy these playoffs because it’s going to be interesting,” Talib said.

Talib’s pick for Super Bowl LII? Saints over Patriots.

You can listen to the whole interview here.

Kansas City Chiefs rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks about the Chiefs' 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 31, 2017. It was Mahome's first regular-season start in the NFL.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff