Not too long after the XFL was forced to end its season due to COVID-19, Jordan Ta’amu signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. His brief tenure as the quarterback for the St. Louis Battlehawks gave him, like many others, a chance to be seen by all NFL teams. No matter your feelings about the XFL, it was undeniably a great platform for athletes to not only play the game they love but also showcase their talent.
Ta’amu played his first two years at New Mexico Military Institute, where he earned Southwest Junior College Football Conference Player of the Year honors. Then, he transferred to Ole Miss for the last two years of his eligibility. At Ole Miss, he became the starter midway through his junior year, playing in seven games. He kept his starting position for his senior year. While at Ole Miss, he threw for 5,600 yards and 30 touchdowns whiling rushing for 507 yards and another 10 touchdowns.
Ta’amu went undrafted in 2019 and was signed by the Houston Texans. He was there for their training camp and saw action in the preseason, but was released by the team during roster cuts. In that short stint, he was seven-for-12 with 50 yards and one interception.
Ta’amu’s stats with the Battlehawks through five games show his potential with 1,050 passing yards on 97 completions, tallying five touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. He added 217 rushing yards with two interceptions. Ta’amu was ranked third in passing and seventh in rushing in the XFL. With these stats, it’s not difficult to see why NFL teams might have been interested in him.
Being signed by the Chiefs at this point doesn’t mean much in terms of making the team or where he might fit if he’s not cut. The Chiefs chose not to re-sign Matt Moore, but instead kept Chad Henne as Patrick Mahomes’s backup and have Kyle Shurmur on the practice squad. Thus, Ta’amu will need to show he belongs.
Since Andy Reid arrived at Kansas City, he has tried to do what he’s done elsewhere: find and develop the right quarterback. His body of work with players such as Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Alex Smith has proven he can find the best marriage of quarterback and offensive structure to maximize the results. The best example of all would be the improvement of Patrick Mahomes from when he entered the league to Super Bowl LIV. Anything seems possible with Andy Reid as a coach and “quarterback whisperer,” as some have dubbed him.
There’s no doubt that Ta’amu has the talent and confidence in his abilities. He knows what he wants to do not only in football but in his life after football. This is where he is a great piece to add to the Chiefs’ roster. Knowledge, focus, performance, and belief is how the Chiefs surpassed all other teams to win the Super Bowl. Whenever the NFL decides to start the season, all in the Chiefs Kingdom will have a chance to see him in action.
Reid was able to plug Matt Moore into the offense and he would like to do the same with Ta’amu, who is a younger and overall better quarterback than Moore. Thus, it makes sense that he would possibly be able to carry the load if something were to happen next season to Mahomes. However, Moore and Henne have more experience in the NFL than Ta’amu (at the moment). The Chiefs can’t overlook the value of experience, but experience can be gained while talent can be a harder commodity to find and quantify.
Ta’amu will have the opportunity to compete with Shurmur and Henne to be the backup to Mahomes, though at the moment, Henne is the most likely candidate. If he’s able to win the position as a backup to Mahomes, he might be with them for a while. If not, his stint in Kansas City will still be an opportunity for more teams to see his ability on display and lengthen his stay in the NFL. The Chiefs saw something in him that they want, and there’s no doubt other teams will take a chance on him if he becomes available.