Patrick Mahomes recently spoke to the media about his looming extension with the Kansas City Chiefs and other subjects.
One of the single biggest storylines of the current NFL offseason has to do with a single contract: the one reportedly being worked out between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and their bright young quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The deal is expected to set every sort of financial mark in the NFL, a given for a player who has established all kinds of records himself in only two years as a starter.
On Friday, Mahomes spoke with reporters on a conference call and re-stated his love for the franchise, his patience with the process, and his trust in his agent, Leigh Steinberg.
For the Chiefs, this contract will feature some creativity given how few parallels there are to work with here. The team has plenty of other contracts that they need to keep under consideration, a list that includes recent large handouts to the likes of safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive lineman Frank Clark, and wide receiver Tyrann Mathieu. Tight end Travis Kelce, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and offensive tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher are also among those with significant amounts owed them in the next two-plus seasons.
As it is, the Chiefs are fairly close to the salary cap with precious little wiggle room and some other roster issues to confront—including signing a full draft class.
Another wrinkle here is that it’s not just as easy as giving a slight raise to Mahomes above the currently highest paid player in Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Yes Wilson is an elite quarterback, but no signal caller has done what Mahomes has done in NFL history so early. In just two years as a starter, Mahomes has put up historical totals and carried the Chiefs to one Super Bowl victory and the edge of another appearance.
With one Most Valuable Player Award and another for his performance on the biggest stage, it’s hard to quantify the sort of on-field impact of a player that so clearly elevates everyone around him even when he’s injured and/or had enough time in the league to truly settle into his position. Imagine how good Mahomes can be if he remains healthy and has 5 to 7 years of experience facing NFL defenses, when each team has been seen multiple times.
Even more, Mahomes is now the best-selling player in the NFL in terms of merch. The Chiefs are making a lot of money off of Mahomes, and that is sure to be a key part in any negotiations is knowing what a player is worth. Has a player ever been worth this much?
One final caveat in all of this is the uncertainty of the game today. It’s one thing to think the NFL’s salary cap will continue to escalate, but if games are missed and/or played without fans in 2020, those significant losses might be passed onto the players in the form of a salary cap that actually decreases for once. Can the Chiefs afford to pay Mahomes so much only to find they lack the requisite room they thought they’d have next year?
All that said, both sides are clearly interested in one thing: keeping this machine going. Mahomes wants to win and the Chiefs want him to lead that effort. He’s got the perfect coach, the ideal set of weapons, an excellent front office, and a legion of fans who love him.