Thoughts and observations on the Kansas City Chiefs signing quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year extension:
So. Much. Dough: Details are still trickling in on the total value of Mahomes’ windfall. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the news, reports the megadeal is worth “over $450 million,” or $45 million annually. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later updated the numbers: a mind-boggling $503 million, with $477 million in “guaranteed mechanisms.” His agent was shrewd enough to get the Chiefs to tie the agreement to the league’s ever-rising salary cap, per Schefter. Which means the more the cap rises, the more Mahomes will make. Which means his grandkids’ grandkids’ grandkids will be able to live very comfortably.
Records Set: Mahomes didn’t just become the richest QB in NFL history. Not just the first to crack $400 million (or $200 million, for that matter), either. Mahomes inked the wealthiest pact in American sports history, besting a slew of Major League Baseball stars and narrowly edging out Mike Trout, who received a 12-year, $426.5 million deal from the Angels in 2019.
Every Penny Deserved: If there’s any player on the planet worth the truly gargantuan investment, it’s Mahomes, who already has NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards under his belt — in his first two seasons. And he doesn’t turn 25 until September! The guy does things with the pigskin that can’t be replicated in even the most egregious “Madden” glitches. Left-handed completions? No-look passes? Come on. It’s as if merely tossing long touchdown bombs with a flick of his right wrist is too boring. The scariest part, too, is we probably haven’t seen his final form. There’s a real chance Mahomes stockpiles titles with Andy Reid and challenges Tom Brady for all-time G.O.A.T. status. Hyperbole? I think not.
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What It Means for Dak
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott played the long game in months-long contract negotiations with the front office, refusing to accept a multi-year deal last September that would have paid him roughly $33.5 million per year, with $105 million guaranteed. He bet on his abilities and won, following a career year under center.
In retrospect, not settling for below-market value then, before Mahomes’ extension, ensured him more cash later. Same goes for Deshaun Watson in Houston. Neither Prescott nor Watson will get what Mahomes did, but it’s a huge leveraging point in long-term discussions. Plus, it introduced the salary cap as a potential poison pill, perhaps altering the framework of future NFL deals.
Prescott won’t be the next $400 million recipient, and probably won’t eclipse $200 million, but it’d be a surprise if he doesn’t clear $40 million on an annual basis — his alleged desire from the outset of discussions.
Context: The Cowboys’ lastest, and increased, offer to Prescott reportedly featured guaranteed money on par with Los Angeles QB Jared Goff’s record-setting $110 million. Mahomes’ injury guarantee alone is worth $140 million.
All Cards Belong to Prescott
Even if he and the Cowboys can’t reach an agreement by the July 15 deadline, Prescott will collect a fully-guaranteed $31.4 million, the price of his exclusive franchise tag. If tagged again next offseason, he’d earn $37.7 million, a mandatory 20 percent increase in pay, per the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If he isn’t tagged, Prescott will hit 2021 unrestricted free agency where a QB-hungry team is likely to assuage his financial wants. And by that point, after Houston’s Deshaun Watson signs his new contract, $200 million in total value might just be the baseline.
Somewhere, Dak is smiling. Elsewhere, Jerry Jones … isn’t.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL