On Monday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs locked up Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes with a lucrative contract extension, tying Mahomes to the Chiefs through 2031. The deal is reported to be a 10-year, $450 million extension with additional incentives that could take it over half a billion dollars. With his current 2-year, $27.6 million contract, Mahomes current deal comes in at a total of 12 years and $476.6, as reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN. This deal would make Mahomes the highest paid athlete ever, topping Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. While it was important for the Chiefs to secure their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future, the size of the deal has to potentially handicap the Chiefs in their attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Patriots dynasty.
Patrick Mahomes has undoubtedly set the league on fire and likely deserves every dollar that is coming his way. But what comes with his big payday may be cap hell for his team. The Chiefs currently sit at 31st in the NFL in cap space, ahead of only the Patriots. They have made some changes in the past few months to add more space since March, when they had just $177 in available cap space.
While any team with Mahomes is an instant contender, the ability to build a team around him will give the Chiefs a chance to dominate the league for the rest of Mahomes’ career. This is what allowed the Patriots to dominate the NFL for the past 20 years. Tom Brady consistently signed for less than market value to ensure that the Patriots could build a contending team around him. Surely he wasn’t always content with the weapons he had at his disposal, it is no doubt that the Patriots were contenders year in and year out.
Don’t get me wrong: Patrick Mahomes owes nothing to the Chiefs. In a league where your future is not guaranteed and injury can take your career at any minute, I certainly don’t blame Mahomes for taking the money while he can. I am happy that he is putting his future before the team’s future. However, if his goal is to eventually dethrone Brady as the greatest of all time, then it may have been wiser for him to save his team some money.
Though Brady carried the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships in the 20 years he was in New England, he never earned more than $23 million in a single season, which happened to be this past season. He made a total of $235.2 million over 20 years with the Patriots, which is less than Mahomes will earn in the next six seasons.
It would be silly to argue whether or not Mahomes deserves the money he got. But I do think there is an argument to be made about whether or not the Chiefs were wise to dish out a HALF BILLION dollars for 12 years for a player that relies on athleticism and has been hurt multiple times. It will be interesting to look back at this contract in six years and then again at its conclusion and see whether the Chiefs made the right decision.
I truly believe that Mahomes will lead the Chiefs to another Super Bowl victory, if not multiple. But the cap hell that this deal is likely to cause will give other AFC teams with young or cheap QBs (Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton) a chance to build their teams and compete for a conference championship.
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