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Quarterback Options for the Chiefs in Patrick Mahomes' Absence

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 17:  Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tended to by trainers after sustaining an injury in the second quarter of a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on October 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Kansas City's Super Bowl hopes took a blow when Patrick Mahomes sustained a knee injury during a Thursday night showdown with the Denver Broncos, a game the Chiefs eventually won 30-6. While the injury is not as serious as once feared, it looks like the Chiefs will still be without Mahomes for a "brief" period of time, and will look to someone else to run the league's most feared offense. For the second half of last night's game, that someone was backup Matt Moore, but the Chiefs might look elsewhere for next week's contest against the Packers.

Here are a few ideas.

1. Matt Moore
There's always sticking with Plan A. Moore did an adequate job in relief of Mahomes last night against the Denver Broncos, going 10 of 19 for 117 yards and a touchdown. However, it should be noted that more than half of those yards came on one 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Tyreek Hill, so absent that great play by Hill, Moore's stats look pedestrian at best against a poor Broncos team, so it may take another week to gauge his usefulness. Of course, the Chiefs may not be willing to give him that much time.

2. Eli Manning (Currently: New York Giants)
It's weird to think of Eli wearing anything but blue, but it might happen if the Giants put their now-backup quarterback on the trading block. There's no doubt that Eli has been less than effective in the past few seasons, but as with Marcus Mariota, so have the Giants themselves - there was no coincidence that his production dropped after losing Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Perhaps his career could receive a jump-start at the very end on a team with Tyreek Hill and Carlos Hyde to throw to.

3. Marcus Mariota (Currently: Tennessee Titans)
Mariota may still be under contract with the Titans, but it's clear that he has no long-term future with head coach Mike Vrabel. After all, when you're benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill, that's a sign you should probably pack your bags. However, Mariota's struggles in 2019 can be blamed in part on the sluggish team around him, and Tannehill has looked no better with the Titans so far. Mariota's mobility out of the pocket is a great fit for an offense used to Mahomes' skillset.

4. Cam Newton (Currently: Carolina Panthers)
Two and a half seasons of underwhelming performances, as well as the rise of surprising backup quarterback Kyle Allen, may have spelled the end for Cam Newton and his giant contract. The Panthers may still choose to go with Newton after his foot injury heals, but another good performance from Allen might dissuade them from doing so.

A quarterback with Newton's credentials - Rookie of the Year, NFL MVP, NFC champion - would be in high demand, of course, and would probably resent being reduced to the role of a glorified temp worker. However, given the way his career has tuned recently, he may have no other choice.

5. Colin Kaepernick (Currently: Free agent)
Yes, yes, we know, you're probably sick of reading about him by now. But seriously, it's at least worth a shot.

Like Mariota, Kaepernick's viability as a mobile quarterback fits nicely into the role that Mahomes has filled. While Colin hasn't been able to flash any of that talent since 2016, according to his agent, he has been diligently working out and is in good enough shape to pass any required physical to play in the NFL. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is known as the NFL's "quarterback whisperer," and he's jump-started the careers of Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, and (after a certain scandal) Michael Vick, so there's no reason to believe he couldn't do it for Kaepernick.