The expectation was that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be the final NFL QB to reset the market this offseason and once again become the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on May 9.
Yet, Nate Taylor of The Athletic provided a glimpse at what the Chiefs could be thinking in terms of a reworked deal for Mahomes, and the team’s timeline is much different than expected
“Several people in the Chiefs’ organization in 2020 felt the most logical period for Mahomes’ contract to be reworked was ahead of the 2026 season,” Taylor wrote on May 25. “But based on the changes in the QB market, the Chiefs understand it’s possible Mahomes could have a restructured deal before the start of the 2025 season.”
Earlier in his column, Taylor explained how Mahomes’s current deal is structured, which might explain why some Chiefs personnel think a restructured deal for Mahomes could be at least a couple of years away.
“The Chiefs put guarantee mechanisms in the language of the extension, as more money becomes guaranteed throughout every year of the deal, which is uncommon in NFL contracts,” Taylor explained. “If Mahomes remains on the Chiefs’ roster when the league holds free agency in 2026, he will be guaranteed to have earned at least $274 million. One of the details in Mahomes’ contract is that the largest roster bonuses occur in 2024, 2025 and ’26, a part of the structure that was put in to help the Chiefs have enough salary-cap space to sign other star players to extensions.”
Patrick Mahomes’s Contract Hard to Deal With Until Then
Though Chiefs brass might think the most logical time for the team to deal with Mahomes’s deal could be in 2025 or beyond, his contract is a financial burden until then.
As it stands, Mahomes has a $39.6 million cap hit in 2023, a $46.6 million cap hit in 2024, and a $48.6 million cap hit in 2025 per Over The Cap. Those are significant cap hits if Kansas City plans on putting talent around Mahomes over the next three seasons. That’s also why it would be beneficial to the team to give Mahomes a new contract prior to the start of the 2023 season.
According to Over the Cap’s effective cap space (the cap space a team will have after signing at least 51 players and its projected rookie class to its roster), Kansas City is $1.7 million over the cap.
Giving Mahomes a new deal would not only potentially make him yet again the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, but it would likely also significantly lower his cap hit for at least 2023 if not also 2024. That could give the team more money to spend on free agents or to make a big splash prior to the November trade deadline and could give them a lot more spending money next offseason.
Giving Mahomes a new deal this offseason would benefit all parties involved, even if it meant going back to the negotiating table 2-3 years from now.
Patrick Mahomes: I Worry About Legacy, Not Money
Speaking to the media on Day 3 of OTAs, Patrick Mahomes was asked about how he feels three years into his new deal with the Chiefs.
“I always keep – me, my agent and the team always keep open communication. We try to do whatever is the best for the team but obviously I want to do the best for myself as well,” Mahomes said on May 24. “But at the same time, I’ve always said, I worry about legacy and winning rings more than making money at this moment. But I know we keep communication. We see what’s going on around the league but at the same time, I’ll never do anything that’s going to hurt us from keeping the great players that are around me. So, it’s kind of teetering around that line.”
When asked if he’s driven to be the highest-paid quarterback in the league, Mahomes showed some true leadership qualities.
“No, it’s more of a – you just want to do whatever to not hurt other quarterbacks whenever their contracts come up. You want to kind of keep the bar pushing. It’s not about being the highest paid guy, it’s not about making a ton of money. I’ve made enough money where I’ll be set for the rest of my life. But at the same time, you’ve got to find that line where you’re making a good amount of money but you’re still keeping a lot of great players around you so you can win these Super Bowls and you’re able to compete in these games.”