Even as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs near an agreement to keep the MVP signal-caller in town for the foreseeable future, the Chiefs’ quarterback depth chart has undergone some restructuring this offseason. Faced with a decision of which veteran passer to re-sign as Mahomes’ primary backup, the defending Super Bowl champions sided with Chad Henne over Matt Moore.
To fill the void left by Moore’s departure, the Chiefs elected to dip into the free agent pool, signing former XFL standout Jordan Ta’amu to a one-year deal in April. Then last week, Kansas City parted ways with second-year pro Kyle Shurmur, who spent the 2019 season on the practice squad.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, Kansas City once again has four quarterbacks on roster after agreeing to sign former University of Michigan QB Shea Patterson. Terms of the deal were not immediately available or confirmed by the organization.
Former Michigan QB Shea Patterson is signing with the #Chiefs, source said.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 3, 2020
Patterson’s agent, Bryan Ehrlich, told the Detroit News that despite the long process, his client landed with a team that fits his skill set.
“He wasn’t a crybaby, he’s an NFL player, and you have to be tough to be an NFL quarterback,” said Ehrlich. “He was wading through the process, I was wading through the process, and Shea stayed ready, making sure it was a good fit. It took a little bit longer, but now he’s got a home.”
While the Chiefs’ starting quarterback spot is solidified for years to come, the undrafted free agent is expected to battle for a spot on the active roster or practice squad this coming season.
“They have a solidified starter, obviously, with Patrick Mahomes,” Ehrlich said. “They want Shea to come in to compete and help everyone get better and make himself better.”
Rollercoaster College Career Led to Uncertain Draft Projection
While Michigan had 10 players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, Patterson was not among the group. In the days following draft weekend, the 6-foot-1-inch, 212-pound passer took to Twitter with an inspired message.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity…I will be more than ready when my number is called.
— Shea Patterson (@SheaPatterson_1) April 27, 2020
Patterson began his collegiate career at Ole Miss, playing 10 games between 2016-17. He later transferred to Michigan in 2018 and went on to post career-bests across the board in his two final seasons as a starter for the Wolverines. The 23-year-old accounted for 5,661 passing yards, 45 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions between 2018-19, including becoming only the third quarterback in Michigan football history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in a single season last year.
While Patterson played for four different offensive coordinators in four years, he does have experience in a pro-style system similar to what Kansas City runs.
Patterson Draws Pro Comparison to Jeff Garcia
Even as NFL athletes grow bigger, stronger and faster each season, it is not unheard of for smaller quarterbacks to find success in the right situation. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein listed Patterson as a priority (undrafted) free agent with a “chance to make end of roster or practice squad.”
Here is the full prospect overview:
Undersized, energetic quarterback who put tantalizing moments together on tape, but failed to sustain it at a high level. Patterson doesn’t have the arm or accuracy to consistently beat NFL coverages, but he can get through progressions quickly and is willing to sit in and deliver to targets in the face of pressure. He appears to be a quick processor on the move and shows some ability to improvise and win. Finding an RPO-heavy offense that allows him to play fast and utilize his talent outside of the pocket could be critical in sticking on an NFL roster long-term as a backup.
Zuerlein lists former 11-year veteran QB Jeff Garcia as an NFL comparison for Patterson. Garcia, who played for five franchises during his career, including his first five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, earned his way to four playoff appearances and four Pro Bowl selections (2000-02, 2007).