Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws the ball during the Chiefs 27-24 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports
Who wins the battle for the third quarterback roster spot?
This may be one of the more entertaining preseasons the Chiefs have ever had if the quarterback battle between Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray really heats up.
One can go ahead and assume fifth round draft pick Aaron Murray will be one the Chiefs roster given how rare it is for a fifth round draft pick to be released. Also keep in mind the Chiefs had only six picks in that draft so taking a player who ends up getting cut only a few months later is not a great sign. Murray will make the team, it’s almost assured.
This would put the battle between Daniel and Bray. One would imagine the initial hope here is Bray shows enough to stay on the roster and the Chiefs are able to trade Daniel to a team in need of a backup quarterback. In trades, the prorated portion of bonuses stay with the trading team – in this case the Chiefs – so the team trading for Daniel wouldn’t be taking on as big of a cap hit as the Chiefs are dealing with now.
Reality of the situation is this: Daniel is too expensive to stay on the Chiefs longterm so his time in Kansas City is coming to an end sometime before March. Trading Daniel this summer would equal another draft pick plus a full $4.5 million in cap savings for 2015.
But trading Daniel, as logical as it seems, completely depends on if A) Bray proves he deserves another year on the roster and B) either Bray or Murray can handle the backup quarterback duties. This is where Murray becomes the x-factor in this battle.
Murray is known for having tremendous football intelligence and a love for the game, and appeared at OTAs healthier than almost anyone expected. In fact, reports were Murray was not limited whatsoever in on-field drills. If his knee is healthy and he can gain a grasp of the playbook quickly then he would be the idea candidate to be the backup quarterback to start the season.
Keep in mind: Some thought Murray was the best quarterback in this class before the knee injury. There were even whispers of him being a first round pick before his knee was injured. Murray is not your typical fifth round draft pick.
It should also be noted that while Daniel has the advantage of being in the league longer than Murray, he’s only started one game (week 17 vs. San Diego) and had just nine pass attempts in the three years prior. In addition, Murray has better physical tools than Daniel. So are we going to choose Daniel over Murray as the backup because of one start?
History also argues that the difference between team success of having a veteran quarterback as a backup compared to a young player (like Murray and Bray) tends to favor the young player.