Monday July 6, 2020, was a day that will go down in history. At just 24 years old, Patrick Mahomes II signed a deal that would make him the highest paid American athlete in sports history. Mahomes deal was astonishing to most, as he inked a deal that can ultimately make the young star over a half a billion dollars when it’s all said and done. No matter what, Mahomes has $477 million guaranteed in his deal as well as incentives that can push his contract all the way to $503 million. What an accomplishment for the best QB in the league today! However, a few questions remain after all the hype over this deal simmers down. Was this a smart deal? And is all that money worth banking on one guy who has only been in the league for three seasons?
Question number one encompasses whether or not this deal was a smart move by the Chiefs franchise. The answer to that question is not a definite yes or no. The deal the Chiefs have put together for Mahomes could work in their favor depending on how the salary cap moves. The Chiefs have one of the lowest salary caps in the league. Besides this Mahomes deal, they are paying Tyreek Hill for 3 years at $54 million, Frank Clark for 5 years at $104 million, and Travis Kelce for 5 years at around $47 million. After the Mahomes deal struck the news on Monday, the Chiefs are left with $6.2 million in cap space. Now, this will not cause much issue this season due to the fact they already have a Super Bowl caliber team locked and loaded. But let’s fast forward 5 years down the road when guys like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce want to reset the wide-receiver and tight-end markets, respectively, just like their buddy Mahomes. The Chiefs will have to let them test the free agent market or they will get lucky and sign one of the two to another big contract. Yes, I know the salary cap will continue to rise, but so will players demands on how much they’re looking for in a contract. The Chiefs front office works heavily on getting offensive weapons (i.e. signing Sammy Watkins to a questionable 3 years for $48 million), that it could cause issues defensively (look at the Chris Jones fiasco) and offensively (they will need to figure out the offensive line e.g. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz) up front down the road. For instance, Frank Clark wants a long-term deal with the Chiefs. Unfortunately for him, that’s not happening right now. They can try and franchise tag him, but Clark already said he wants a long-term deal or trade me. They can also reconstruct Sammy Watkins deal, but that might not sit well with him when he looks to resign. I mentioned Chris Jones, a top 5 Defensive Tackle, who is more than likely out of Kansas City after this deal. You also have to be thinking of guys like Anthony Hitchens and, of course, Tyrann Mathieu. I bet they let Hitchens walk but the Chiefs love the Honey Badger in their secondary after the departure of Eric Berry. There are a lot of interesting scenarios that can be looked at down the road from the lack of salary cap and the mega deals players will want.
The question everyone is dying to know, but will have to wait and see, is Mahomes worth the contract? He easily deserves to be the highest paid NFL player and it’s not even a question. However, this massive contract changes everything, not only for the Chiefs, but also the NFL. First, for the Chiefs as stated above, this could be an issue for them down the road when signing free agents or extending current contracts. They also have put the entire franchise on one guys shoulders for the next 12 years. The pressure is on for Mr. Mahomes not only for the organization but also a fanbase who doesn’t like to lose and will probably abandon the team like they’ve done for decades in the midst of a losing season. As for the NFL, this changes everything for all teams when it comes to re-setting the quarterback salary market. Obviously, the market will be set for awhile with Mahomes deal. But what does that mean for guys like Dak Prescott, and Deshaun Watson, both will be looking for new deals. Now that they see how much Mahomes is making, they will most likely be requesting a little bit more money on that new deal. The way front offices construct contracts now will be changed forever, players will be wanting way more money and more money guaranteed. It will be interesting to see what organizations are going to tell their franchise quarterback what they are worth compared to Mahomes.
Future State of the League
In the end Mahomes earned a big contract, he has performed for the city of Kansas City ever since he arrived. As I am not a Chiefs fan, I imagine the hope as a fan would be a few more Super Bowls early in this mega deal. Obviously they would want this before father time hits as well as when things begin to change for an organization who is setup for success for the next 5 years. I leave all you Kansas City fans with one final message. At least us Bears fans are saving half a billion dollars drafting Trubisky over Mahomes!!