Can KC Chiefs entice veteran free agents to trade money for wins?
The Chiefs boast the best young talent in the NFL, and just won the Super Bowl. Can they take Patriots place as the play-for-a-discount-and-win destination?
A lot has been made about Patrick Mahomes’ upcoming blockbuster contract in the past year, and especially in the past two weeks. Some analysts believe he will top $40 million per season, a number that would make him among the highest salaried athletes in all of sports. Some have wondered if he might take a pay cut, taking a page out of Tom Brady’s diary, because he’s focused more on championships than making the most money that he can make.
With Mahomes, given his stature and overall value to the team, it’s tough to say what he’ll do. The best quarterbacks rarely take a significant pay cut relative to their market value in large part because the quarterback is the most integral position in the NFL, probably in all of sports. As Chiefs fans have seen time and again, a quarterback can either be your downfall or he can elevate your entire franchise to the promised land.
However, the other 52 players on the team aren’t quite as integral. This is no disrespect to any of them and their personal accomplishments, it’s just easier to plug and play at running back, or wide receiver, or defensive tackle. The list goes on and on. With the Chiefs reaching the ultimate stage and winning in dramatic fashion, their championship mettle now proven for all to see, a curious question can now be asked and hopefully answered in the coming years. With the twilight of the Patriots dynasty seemingly upon us, can the Chiefs now entice veteran free agents to take pay cuts to win?
The answer is likely yes for a number of reasons. On offense, great quarterbacks are know to elevate even mediocre talent to great heights. This type of setup can bring a huge pay day to a borderline number-two wide receiver or a fringe starting tight end. Take a one year deal with the Chiefs as their second or third option, catch 60 balls for 800 yards, and you’re looking at a lucrative multi-year payday right around the corner. And this doesn’t just hold for the offense.
The defensive side of the ball might actually be a better situation, with Chiefs boasting an all-star staff. It was clear from this season that Spagnuolo has a penchant for taking a secondary with holes and sealing them all. He elevated Tyrann Mathieu’s play to All-Pro, a rookie’s play to borderline Pro Bowler, and a group of vagabond cornerbacks to the sixth best passing defense in the league.
Brendan Daly, a long time coach for the New England Patriot, has a history of elevating defensive lineman. See Trey Flowers, a fourth-round pick who never made a Pro Bowl or was voted All Pro, produced in a winning system and was paid handsomely for it. Now, in Kansas City, take your pick. Mike Pennel, Emannuel Ogbah, and Tanoh Kpassagnon all saw their market values elevated by their outsized production in a winning system this season.
A final point to be made is the signing of Terrell Suggs. Suggs made it clear when he was released by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season that he only wanted to play for the Baltimore Ravens. Somewhat surprisingly, given how much was made of his comments, it didn’t take much convincing by Andy Reid for Suggs to come to Kansas City. It’s now pretty clear that was the best decision he could have made, a freshly minted Super Bowl champion.
This doesn’t mean every single veteran free agent will be calling their agent and asking for a workout with the Chiefs. Some will still favor teams who will offer them the most money, play in the larger markets, or play in the nicest weather.
That said, all the elements are their for the Chiefs. They have the brightest star in the league in Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and his coaching staff all have fantastic reputations, players have been elevated, and they just won a Super Bowl. This is a proven model, and it should pique the interest of veteran free agents around the league.