Since taking over as the Kansas City Chiefs’ full-time starter in 2018, QB Patrick Mahomes has set the NFL ablaze. At only 24 years old, the future is bright for the Texas Tech product, who is currently playing on a base salary of $645K in the third year of his rookie contract.
Speculation on the timing of a new deal has been scattered in the early going.
Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up back in late September, NFL Insider Adam Schefter voiced his opinion that Mahomes and the Chiefs would agree to new terms this coming offseason.
“He is expected, at some point during the offseason, to get a new deal done with the Chiefs that I would think, just guessing, is going to be a deal in excess of $200 million over the course of that contract,” said Schefter.
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Mahomes and his camp are officially (legally) eligible to explore a contract extension with the Kansas City front office on December 29, 2019, immediately following the Chiefs’ regular season finale.
According to Sporting News’ Jeff Diamond, former president of the Tennessee Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, the likelihood is slim that the Chiefs will be able to wait out the remainder of Mahomes’ rookie deal before breaking the bank.
“Kansas City owner Clark Hunt and general manager Brett Veach would love their franchise quarterback to play next season for just the $2.7 million in the fourth year of his rookie deal,” Diamond wrote. “There’s no way that’s happening.”
Chiefs ownership thinking long term?
Not everyone is in agreement that a new deal will get done before the 2020 season kicks off.
Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt previously addressed the expectations surrounding Mahomes’ contract at the league meetings in March of this year. Hunt hinted to PFT Live that there’s value to be had for teams with quarterbacks on rookie deals.
Think Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, Carson Wentz and the Eagles, Jared Goff and the Rams.
“It’s something we’ve begun to discuss, but really that’s a decision we’ll make down the road,” said Hunt. “We’ll have a couple of chances here over the next couple years to extend him. And we’ll just have to figure out when the right time is to do that for the organization. Obviously, it has big salary cap impact. A lot has been made of the opportunities you have with quarterbacks on rookie contracts. So we want to take full advantage of that. At the same time, we’re hopeful to have Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City for a very long time.”
ESPN Insider Dan Graziano offered a similar sentiment in his recent “20 predictions for the 2020 NFL offseason” story.
“Mahomes surely wants to see what [Cowboys QB Dak] Prescott gets first, and he might want to see what [Texans QB] Deshaun Watson gets before topping it,” writes Graziano. “Given the possibility that he can blow past the $40 million-per-year benchmark when he finally does sign, it would be wise for Mahomes not to rush into anything.”
How big of a payday could Mahomes draw?
In today’s NFL, market resets have become commonplace for new quarterback deals. The same will hold true for Mahomes in due time, however, there are a few other puzzle pieces that could alter just how high the dollar totals reach.
Dak Prescott, currently in the final season of his four-year rookie deal, is likely to be the first domino to fall. Despite Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones recently indicating there has been some additional progress in negotiations, Prescott appears headed for the franchise tag in 2020. The other major player that could change the accounting equation is Houston’s Deshaun Watson who is also in the third year of his rookie deal.
When the time comes, Mahomes’ deal should be expected to surpass the league’s current high values in guaranteed money (Jared Goff; $110M), signing bonus (Russell Wilson; $65M), and average annual salary (Russell Wilson; $35M).
For now, the race – or rather the wait – to $40 million annually is on. If Prescott or Watson don’t get there first, Mahomes is expected to break that barrier and become the first NFL player to do so. Only six active major-sport athletes earn $40 million annually, all of whom play in the NBA.
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