KC Chiefs: Is Chad Henne sitting on a hot seat?

Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Kansas City Chiefs officially turned the page to the Patrick Mahomes chapter of the team’s history, it was also the first season without Alex Smith since 2013. For the Chiefs to officially move on to a bright young starter as the potential franchise face, it also meant that the QB roles needed to be reversed—that a veteran would soon be holding a clipboard on Sundays. For the last few years, that man was Chad Henne.

Beginning in 2018, the Chiefs have chosen a tandem of Mahomes and Henne as QB1 and QB2 going into each season. Henne was an ideal support for Mahomes in that he came with a solid body of experience of a decade in the NFL. However, he was also still only 33 years old and seemed like a decent stop-gap measure in case he was needed in a pinch as well.

Over the last few seasons, Henne has come through in key moments when Mahomes has been injured. Any fan has to be pleased with the results of the last four years and the stability that Henne has brought to the position. That said, going forward, the Chiefs are going to have to transition the backup quarterback role at some point and it’s fair to wonder if ’22 is that year.

Is it possible that Chad Henne is sitting on a hot seat behind Patrick Mahomes as the backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs?

This year will be Mahomes fifth season as a starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s now well into his long-term extension that set numerous financial marks in pro sports history, and he’s settled into family life with the just-announced son on the way along with a daughter and a new marriage (he and Brittany finally tied the knot in March). At this point, Mahomes knows the rhythm and role quite well of being a superstar athlete—no more safety net is needed.

Now the Chiefs are free to move on—if they want—toward a different arrangement, one that might look something close to what the New England Patriots did for years behind Tom Brady or even the Philadelphia Eagles behind Donovan McNabb. With a household name as a starter, those teams decided to invest in a young QB and see if that asset could appreciate in perceived value for other teams.

Remember the Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel in this very scenario. Cassel was once a 7th round choice who came with a year of work after subbing in for Tom Brady for a spell. He also came with the mystique of having played for Bill Belichick. It’s the same mystery that somehow made Jimmy Garoppolo such a desirable asset at one point in time.

Is Shane Buechele the guy who can take over?  Are the Chiefs really okay with that arrangement? Is Buechele ready? He’s certainly been putting in the work in the offseason alongside Mahomes in workouts, as seen on social media. Yet that would be a big move to go with a rookie free agent signed last spring as the next man up after a talent like Mahomes. Of course a vet like Matt Moore or even Henne might only be another phone call away, but that’s still another step removed.

It will be interesting to see if there’s any real competition for Henne at all this offseason or whether Buechele is simply earning reps as a future practice squad QB once again. At some point, the Chiefs will go young there but the timing is yet uncertain.

Next. Ranking the Chiefs top 15 draft picks ever. dark