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Clark Hunt Talks Patrick Mahomes, What the Chiefs are Building and More at the League Meetings

Hunt joined Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio on Monday

The annual league meetings are underway this week, bringing executives and coaches together from around the NFL in preparation for the upcoming season.

That includes Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, who joined Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio on Monday to discuss Kansas City's busy offseason and the outlook for the franchise moving forward.

Here are five things we learned from Hunt in the interview.

1. He's looking forward to seeing what quarterback Patrick Mahomes  can do

The Chiefs traded up for the right to select Mahomes in the 2017 Draft, and with former starter Alex Smith now in Washington, the second-year quarterback will take over under center for Kansas City in 2018.

Hunt was impressed with what he saw from Mahomes in his limited chances last season and is looking forward to his progress under Head Coach Andy Reid.

"Well, I think he's really the complete package," Hunt said of Mahomes. "You obviously mentioned some of his physical skills, (like) his ability to throw the ball from uneven platforms accurately and down the field. Andy really likes the mental makeup, the way he prepares for games, the way he understands Andy's offense - which is not easy for a rookie quarterback - and then he also appreciates the way Patrick keeps his eyes down the field to extend plays. You cited a couple opportunities he had last year to make plays where maybe a different quarterback would throw the ball out of bounds. Now, he'll obviously have to learn the balance of when you take those chances and when you don't."

2. He is grateful for Smith's five years in Kansas City

"We were very lucky to have Alex Smith for five years," Hunt said. "He came to Kansas City and really brought some stability and I would say excellence to the position. He helped us make it to the playoffs four out of five years and helped us win the division two years in a row, so when it came time to make that decision it was not an easy one. I also can't say enough about Alex as a person and as a teammate. He did a great job in the locker room and a great job of leading the team."

Hunt went on to discuss the unique position Kansas City was in last season with two starting-caliber quarterbacks on the roster.

"Frankly, the club had not been in a position like that really since maybe the early days of the franchise," Hunt said. "We obviously believed a lot in Patrick Mahomes coming out of college to make the move to get him. Andy Reid and his staff and Brett Veach liked what they saw last year during the preseason, they liked his preparation during the season and then he got a chance to play at the end of the year in the game against Denver and really looked better than he had in the preseason. I think that gave them the confidence to make the move, but it was certainly very, very difficult to trade a franchise quarterback of the caliber of Alex Smith."

3. He's excited about what the Chiefs are building

Hunt is optimistic about the Chiefs' ability to take the next step with Reid and General Manager Brett Veach in charge.

"Well our goal every year is to play in the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl and that doesn't change at this point going forward," Hunt said. "Certainly, when you have a tough couple playoff losses like we've had the last two years, it makes you scratch your head and say, 'OK, how can we do things better?' I will say that I don't think Brett Veach and Andy Reid are standing pat, and if you look at the moves we've made this offseason, highlighted by the change to Mahomes as starting quarterback, they're being extremely aggressive in order to help us take that next step."

And though the Chiefs haven't reached that goal yet, Hunt is proud of what Reid, Veach and the rest of the front office have built.

"If you don't make the playoffs every year, you certainly don't have a chance to play in the Super Bowl, so that's step one," Hunt said. "Winning the division two years in a row for the first time in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks volumes to the jobs that Andy and his staff and Brett and his staff have done. We just need to keep building now and find a way to make the team better all the way around."

4. He is on board with simplifying the catch rule for next season

The league meetings are an opportunity to alter the rules for the upcoming season, and a hot topic of conversation all offseason long has been the prospect of changing the definition of a catch.

"Well certainly on the rule side, I think that the issue that is going to be discussed and is receiving the most attention is the catch rule," Hunt said. "What I've heard at this point, I like. I'm looking forward to the presentation tomorrow, so I can really understand it, but I think simplifying that and making what's obvious to the fans at home the actual rule, I think that will be good for the NFL."

The simplified rule unanimously passed on Wednesday and will be in effect next season.

5. It's all about the fans at the end of the day

"I think the one principal (my father) taught me and my siblings is that it's all about the fans," Hunt said. "Without the fans, you don't have the business. The players and coaches are critical—can't play the game without them— but if we don't have the fans and particularly the season ticket holders, you're not going to be very successful in the National Football League."

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