The Chiefs QB situation has been a hot topic of late. We have an entrenched starter in Smith. We just drafted Aaron Murray. We have a promising developmental guy in Bray. Finally we have a competent career backup in Chase Daniel. It's unlikely (though not totally impossible) that the Chiefs can keep all 4 on the 53. Figuring out which QB's make the cut, and who is the odd man out is actually a bit difficult for once.
Depending on who you believe an Alex Smith contract extension is either a forgone conclusion or highly unlikely. Either way Smith is almost assuredly the starter for 2013. Murray was just drafted this year, and while a 5th round investment hardly screams uncuttable, chances are he gets at least a year to show something. There is a chance that Murray could end up on the mystery IR, though with reports that his knee has been fully cleared that has become far less likely. That means that the odd man out is probably either Tyler Bray or Chase Daniel.
Tyler Bray joined the Chiefs as an UDFA free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Bray, a highly touted prospect from the SEC with a golden arm, was once viewed a possible 1st overall pick. Despite obvious natural ability, poor coaching and a string of immature and ill-advised run ins with the law knocked Bray down boards. Ultimately the Chiefs took a chance on Bray, outbidding the Dolphins for his services as an UDFA. Over the last season there was not a single incident with the "character concern's" behavior. Bray is young, cheap, and blessed with enormous arm talent. His future with the Chiefs depends on how well he takes to coaching and how quickly he processes the mental side of the game.
Some have proposed trying to sneak Bray onto the practice squad. Personally I don't see this as an option. Quarterbacks with Bray's physical gifts are rare, he's answered many of the "character concerns" that caused him to drop on the draft. Furthermore, his services were in high demand as an UDFA. With the QB situation faced by many teams around the league I highly doubt Bray clears waivers.
Which leaves Chase Daniel. Daniel is a veteran presence who joined the Chiefs last season after spending 3 seasons in New Orleans as the backup to Drew Brees. Daniel was given a very generous contract for a backup QB at 3 years $10 million, including a $3,000,000 signing bonus, $3,000,000 guaranteed. Chase played well last year against the Chargers. In the short term, Daniel gives the Chiefs the best chance to remain competitive should Smith go down with injury. However, Daniels upside is limited and he's likely already close to his ceiling as a QB. With his rather hefty contract, Chase is certainly not safe. Cutting him would give the Chiefs a 1.4 million dollar boost in cap space. Opinions on Chase seem to run the gammut from easy cut to potential future starter (whether for us should Alex's contract negotiations go awry, or for a QB needy team via trade).
If you've followed Arrowhead Pride at all the last few weeks most of the above is old news. However, there is a very important detail in Chase's contract that I haven't seen discussed at all - the opt out clause. Daniel holds the option to void his contract if he throws for more than 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in a season. It may seem trivial, but I would argue that this tells us several important things:
1) The Chiefs view Chase as a backup. He was given a deal that basically allows him to walk if plays decently for an extended period of time. This tells us the Chiefs don't see Chase as viable option to replace Alex should contract talks disintegrate.
2) Chase has almost no trade value. The idea that we could receive any compensation for Chase is a fallacy. Even if a team were impressed enough with Chase's limited tape to consider him a potential starter, there is virtually no chance they would sacrifice draft pick capital to bring him in. The opt out clause means they would be essentially trading for one year of services, as Chase could (assuming he actually earns playing time) void his deal and walk or demand a new deal.
3) Chase is a temporary stop gap. The Chiefs were willing to slightly overspend on Chase because he provides short term stability, until they can get there developmental guys in place. Reid and Dorsey both believe in taking QB's every year to develop. Everything about the structure of Daniel's contract screams temporary. If he were a guy they thought might develop they would have protected there investment and not allowed the player opt out clause.
How it all plays out depends on what Murray and Bray (not Chase) show this offseason. If either looks even close to ready Daniel is cut. If both falter, Daniel sticks around another year as insurance. Either way, Chase's contract virtually guarantees he's not in the Chief's long term plans and that we're unlikely to receive any compensation via trade when we do move on.