Chiefs Tender Shane Buechele as ERFA for 2023

Kansas City retains one of its backup quarterbacks for the offseason program and beyond.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback room saw a bit of a shake-up at the beginning of the offseason when veteran Chad Henne announced his retirement shortly after the team won Super Bowl LVII. That left Shane Buechele as Patrick Mahomes’s primary backup, but the 25-year-old was an exclusive rights free agent for the 2023 offseason.

With a deadline — the start of the new league year — in place for the Chiefs to tenders their ERFAs, they extended a qualifying offer to tight end Jody Fortson on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, per Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest, Buechele was also tendered with an ERFA contract. Here’s more from Derrick’s report:

The Chiefs as expected are returning Shane Buechele to the quarterback room but unlike the past two seasons, he currently ranks at No. 2 on the depth chart and is a prime contender for the backup job behind Patrick Mahomes.

The club has tendered the exclusive rights free agent a contract offer, a source tells Chiefs Digest, keeping him in the stable for a third season in Kansas City.

Buechele, who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent coming out of SMU back in 2021, has been with the team since then but has yet to play any snaps in the regular season. The Arlington, TX native was a candidate to remain on the Chiefs’ practice squad this past season but in an effort to protect him from another franchise poaching him, he routinely occupied an active roster spot and simply wasn’t active on game days (Henne was the game day backup for Mahomes). Without Henne in the picture, though, and as Derrick noted, Buechele is currently quarterback No. 2 on the depth chart. 

In the 2022 preseason, Buechele completed 31 of his 51 pass attempts for 335 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but his performances were enough to turn the heads of many. The door is open for the Chiefs to sign a veteran backup later this offseason or potentially even select a quarterback in April’s 2023 NFL Draft, although Buechele now has multiple years of experience with the franchise and the element of his rostering during the 2022 campaign could signal belief on the team’s behalf. 

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