The Kansas City Chiefs nearly lost one of their quarterbacks on Tuesday, November 16 when the Arizona Cardinals attempted to sign Shane Buechele to their 53-man roster from Kansas City’s practice squad, per ESPN’s Field Yates. However, the Chiefs promoted him to the active roster the same day, which blocked the Cardinals from signing him.
The Chiefs’ star quarterback — Patrick Mahomes — has a longtime connection to someone who is calling some of the shots in Arizona: head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury was Mahomes’ coach at Texas Tech, and the connection between the two has continued into the NFL, to the point where Mahomes called out Kingsbury for trying to take Buechele from the defending AFC champions.
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‘Stay Away from My Guy’
Mahomes spoke about Buechele’s promotion during his press conference on Wednesday, November 17, and while doing so briefly mentioned what he said to Kingsbury in regards to Buechele.
“[Buechele] puts in the work every single day. He’s a guy that has a lot of energy and in that role when you’re not playing that first year, you can kind of lose it and you can kind of be lazy, but he hasn’t shown that,” Mahomes said. “He’s been in every day with us, me and Chad (Henne), getting in and learning as much as possible. I had to tell Kliff (Kingsbury) to stay away from my guy. But he’s someone who puts in the work and deserves this opportunity and I’m happy for him.”
Chiefs Have Growing Loyalty to Buechele
Despite having Mahomes and veteran Chad Henne locked atop the depth chart, Kansas City has had an unwavering loyalty to Buechele this season. The Chiefs have not used all four of their practice squad protections in any given week, however, Buechele is the lone player they have consistently used one of their protections on.
Despite getting banged up in Week 7, Mahomes has seemingly been healthy over the past three weeks. Henne (finger) appeared on the injury report in Week 8 but hasn’t appeared on the report since then. So, there isn’t necessarily an injury-related reason to keep Buechele around. However, a case can be made that promoting Buechele ensures if Mahomes or Henne were injured they will still have Buechele around, who is familiar with the system.
The other connection that can be made here is Henne’s contract situation. Henne is in the final year of the two-year, $3.25 million deal he signed with the Chiefs in 2020, per Spotrac. So, that makes him a free agent in 2022. If the Chiefs really like Buechele, then keeping him around until next year would make sense if they wish to not re-sign Henne and instead want to make Buechele the new backup to Mahomes.
For whatever the reason may be, promoting Buechele shows the progress he’s made early on in his NFL career.
Buechele: From UDFA to Active Roster
Buechele entered the NFL in 2021 as an undrafted rookie out of SMU. He played well enough during the preseason for Kansas City — completing 37 of 55 passes for 422 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, per Fox Sports — to have him on the practice squad for the duration of the regular season up until Week 11.
Buechele will be active for the first regular-season game of his career when Kansas City takes on the Dallas Cowboys — who are sporting a 7-2 record — at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, November 21.