Updated: Jul 7, 2020
On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Chiefs Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has signed a 10 year extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes currently has 2 years left on his rookie contract so his deal will keep Mahomes in Kansas City until 2031.
At first glance, a 10 year contract is insane but if anyone deserved it, it would be Mahomes. Mahomes' contract will likely be by far the largest in not only NFL history but in sports history. My prediction is $425m and I think the contract will be structured so the Chiefs can get out after about 6 years, with minimal dead money.
Update: Adam Schefter has reported that Mahomes' deal is worth $503 million with an injury guarantee of $140 million. The deal is the largest in American sports history.
Mahomes is coming off a Super Bowl win, which came in large part because of his incredible play. In the 2019/20 playoffs, he had a 65% completion percentage and averaged 300 yards per game. He also threw 10 touchdowns, compared to just 2 interceptions.
The first round of the playoffs included a comeback after the chiefs were down 24-0 against the Texans. Mahomes lead the team back, throwing 5 touchdowns. Additionally, Mahomes was the Chiefs top rusher which shows his ability to run the ball. Mahomes defeated the Titans in the second round after making some incredible plays and ultimately defeated the 49ers in the Super Bowl after a late surge.
Mahomes has played 3 seasons in the NFL and played just 1 game in his first season. This massive contract may seem premature but Mahomes has been unbelievable through 2 seasons. He was the MVP in 2018 and Super Bowl Champion in 2019 and he looks primed to continue this trend. Additionally, Mahomes is 28-8 in his career as a starter and has never lost a game by more than 7 points.
If you have watched Mahomes, you can rationalize such a massive deal. He changes games by himself and will do so for years to come.
In 2 matchups against the Titans, Mahomes threw for 730 yards and 6 touchdowns. With Mahomes signed for 12 years, the Titans will have a tough task if they want to advance past the Chiefs. While it may not happen immediately, the Titans will need to adjust in order to compete with Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The deal will be multiple hundreds of millions of dollars which raises the question, how will the Chiefs build a strong roster with much less cap room? Historically, Quarterbacks who sign large contracts do not perform as well as expected because they are taking cap space that the team could be using on other positions. For example, in 2018, none of the 5 highest payed Quarterbacks in the NFL (Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Matthew Stafford) made the playoffs.
The greatest Quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, signed contracts which benefited the team and it showed. Brady could have been the highest payed Quarterback in history if he wanted but he prioritized the teams success and signed contracts of less value.
This situation is slightly different. While the highest payed Quarterbacks are sometimes not as successful as expected, someone like Russell Wilson has been consistently strong for years, despite a large contract of $35m/year. Mahomes will likely be among the best players in the league for years to come and as along as his contract is not $55m/year, the Chiefs will continue competing for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl most years.
Historically, contracts of 10 about years do not fair well. Some well known examples are Drew Bledsoe and Donavan McNabb. Bledsoe signed a 10 year contract with the Patriots in 2001 and suffered a severe injury. He ultimately lost the starting job to Tom Brady. McNabb signed a 12 year contract in 2002 and broke his leg the following season.
While Mahomes’ contract will likely be by far the largest in NFL history, he is capable of things rarely seen before. His talent combined with the players around him, can create one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.