After making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback, is Shane Buechele the future backup to Mahomes?
Chiefs quarterback Shane Buechele survived cuts, making the team’s 53-man roster. That was no easy task considering Kansas City entered the preseason with four quarterbacks on its team. Patrick Mahomes is the Chiefs’ starter and the best QB in the NFL and veteran Chad Henne is the clear backup. The Chiefs also had Dustin Crum, the undrafted QB out of Kent State. Buechele started the team’s final preseason game, a 17-10 win against Green Bay. He threw for 166 yards on 11 of 17 passing throwing for 2 touchdown without a interception.
On last Tuesday, the Chiefs cut Crum, sticking with Buechele for the third quarterback spot. This is the Chiefs first three 3 QB roster since 2019 with Mahomes, Henne and Matt Moore. Also does Tyler Bray ring a bell? But still, Buechele made the cut. NFL coaches and GMs generally want the best 53 players they can find for their rosters, but they’re willing to make exceptions especially for backup quarterbacks. At the backup QB position, some teams willfully sacrifice talent and potential for players who can support and mentor the starter. We already know that Chad Henne is the backup quarterback of the Chiefs.
The 37-year-old Henne will now spend his fifth season with the Chiefs while he continues providing a veteran voice in their quarterback room. Henne-Thing is possible. It’s even possible that, Henne will play his final season as the Chiefs backup and hand over that mantle to Shane Buechele. There is a good chance that the Chiefs have considered this option since 2021 when Buechele signed with the Chiefs as a undrafted rookie free agent.
Invited to the 2021 East/West Shrine Bowl. Former four-star high school recruit and top 100 player who signed with Texas over several Big 12 offers. Started all 12 games of his true freshman season with the Longhorns in 2016, earning Honorable Mention Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and breaking Colt McCoy’s record for most passing yards by a freshman in school history. Sustained various injuries in 2017 that caused him to miss time and eventually surrender the starting job to Sam Ehlinger. Appeared in only two games his junior season, allowing him to earn a redshirt. Transferred to SMU, starting 23 games in his two years with the Mustangs. 2019 First-team All-AAC after setting school records in single-season passing yards and touchdowns. That would intrigue the Chiefs to sign him as a undrafted rookie free agent.
The team signed Buechele to the practice squad at the beginning of the 2021 because the team was comfortable with two quarterbacks. But that changed on November 16, 2021 when Field Yates of ESPN reported that the Chiefs signed Buechele from their practice squad to their 53-man roster. It came off as a surprising move because of their comfort in having two healthy quarterbacks. However, Yates reported that the Cardinals attempted to sign Buechele to their active roster, because of injuries to Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy at the time.
After the conclusion of the 2021 season, it looks like Buechele has worked towards making the most of his opportunities which included working out with Mahomes in Texas this off-season trying to get better. Buechele showed enough this off-season one of the main traits that GMs want to see from a veteran backup is a great teammate to the starter, lending support and mentoring instead of threatening his job. It was expected by the consensus of Chiefs Kingdom that Buechele undrafted out of SMU was going to go through the same situation like last season, but the Chiefs were willing to keep him as a third QB on the 53-man roster — because Brett Veach, Andy Reid and Matt Nagy see something special in him and didn’t want another team to get his talents. At the end of the day when putting together the 53-man roster, you have to retain the players who give you the best chance to win while keeping an eye on the future and player development.
Based off this move, this to me is a sign that Buechele is the future successor of Chad Henne. Buechele has spent the off-season down in Texas with Mahomes to become a better quarterback in his second season. Him making the 53 shows signs that he took that training seriously. He has more TDs in the preseason since 2021 than Mac Jones, Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence and Trey Lance. I know regular season stats and what you do in the postseason matters but it’s still impressive.
He has a 91.2 passer rating, thrown for 757 yards passing, 6 TD passes and 3 picks in 6 career preseason games. Buechele is an ideal west coast offense quarterback just like Alex Smith or a former undrafted quarterback that found success, Jeff Garcia. Buechele is a rhythm passer who has had success operating inside 10 yards. He has the ability to throw with touch to all levels of the field even though he might have the same level of arm talent like Mahomes. He possesses good mobility to extend plays out of structure and keeps the chains moving on the ground when the situation presents itself just like Alex Smith.
Buechele possesses some of the creativity the Chiefs have grown accustomed to having as well as touch, poise and athleticism. If they think they can clean up some of the things that limit Buechele’s already limited skill set they could be rewarded with a backup with starter upside. Therefore, Buechele is more than a young developmental quarterback as a QB3, He is future for the Chiefs as the backup and he has earn that spot. Well done, Shane.
Buechele 2021 at ARZ: https://youtu.be/jiTHpgdXF6o
Buechele 2021 vs MIN: