How should the Chiefs measure the success of Patrick Mahomes contract extension?

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field at the conclusion of a 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field at the conclusion of a 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

How should the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately measure the success of Patrick Mahomes contract?

When the Kansas City Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes came to an agreement on a 10 year, $503 million contract extension, it was an absolute steal for the franchise. Fans and media pundits alike have praised general manager Brett Veach for getting the deal done, and Mahomes himself for signing a deal that likely will cost him money in the long run, given the nature of quarterback contracts in the NFL.

In 12 years, will we still feel the same way? Perhaps more importantly, how will we evaluate the contract when it is over to determine whether or not it was a successful deal for Kansas City in terms of competitive success? (There is almost no chance that it is not a success financially.)

The answer must come down to the number of Super Bowls that Mahomes leads the Chiefs to between now and 2031, right? I think if you asked most Chiefs fans, they’d say two or three more rings would likely be a great result from the Patrick Mahomes era of Kansas City football.

The real answer is more nuanced than that, however. We all believe that having Mahomes on the team substantially increases the odds of competing for (and winning) Lombardi Trophies each year, but there are many other factors involved in that result—the talent of the roster around him, luck, injuries, et cetera—that make it difficult to evaluate Mahomes on that lone metric.

Instead, we should decide now, before he starts playing on the contract, what a “successful” extension looks like for Mahomes, competitively speaking.

For me, I think that the answer is where the Super Bowl LIV MVP ranks in terms of total QBR season-to-season. If I’m the Chiefs’ organization, I want my star quarterback, who I just signed to the richest contract in sports history, to be a top five quarterback for nearly every year of the deal to justify the investment I’ve just made in him. I think that I would choose to use QBR (quarterback rating) as my metric, which is explained here. It seems like the fairest and most objective way to measure a quarterback’s individual success and ability.

Is it reasonable to expect that Mahomes will finish in the top five of Total QBR every year of the extension, from 2022-2031? For me, I think that the expectation should be seven seasons. If, during the years from 2022-2031, Patrick Mahomes finishes in the top five of QBR seven out of 10 seasons, the Chiefs should view the contract as a competitive success. That would show tremendous consistency, yet it gives room for an off year that happens to everyone, and provides acknowledgement that never missing a year due to injury would be a highly unlikely career. For context, Mahomes was first in Total QBR in 2018 and second in 2019.

How about you? How will you decide if Mahomes’ contract extension was a success for Kansas City when looking back on it in 2031?

Chiefs Trivia

Enter for a chance to win a Chiefs prize via either Facebook or Twitter Direct/Private Messaging. Must retweet or share the column on your personal page, and provide the correct answer via PM/DM, to be eligible. Winner will be chosen at random on Saturday.

Last week’s winner was Nolan Grahn who  correctly answered that five other NFL quarterbacks had received 10+ year contracts.

This week’s question trivia is: What former Chief holds the team record for most number of Pro Bowl appearances in their career? (hint: he had 12)

Reader Question

Each week, we’ll answer a question or two from readers about our team. These can be about any topic related to the Chiefs. Send me a question via DM (@kthomps58).

This week’s question comes from Blaize Corrigan of Manhattan, Kansas. Blaize asks: What does the future of the tight end position look like for Kansas City? 

That’s a great question, Blaize. I think that the answer, at least based on what general manager Brett Veach has done thus far, is that the team seems committed to Travis Kelce for the long term. The team has not invested draft capital or significant free agent money in the position around Kelce, which means they’re not grooming a replacement at this point.

Even still, Kelce will be 31 in October and playing in his eighth NFL season. How long can he continue to be the productive threat Kansas City relies on him to be? The obvious answer is that we do not know, but legendary tight ends like Chiefs’ great Tony Gonzalez played until he was 38 years old. Also, Kelce does not have a concerning injury history, since he’s missed only one game over the last six seasons.

The other part of this question is about the money, though. Kelce is due $8.75m in 2021, a steal of a deal for the Chiefs, but he’s scheduled to be a free agent after that. Sometime in the next 20 months, then, general manager Brett Veach will have to decide whether or not to put another long-term offer on the table for Kelce when he’s almost 32. If that is going to happen, look for an extension to happen after the 2020 season in order to give Kelce some security going into the 2021 season (rather than playing out the last year of his deal and hitting free agency).

I think that Kelce is the future of the tight end position for Kansas City, but paying a 32-year-old tight end top tier money ($10m+) is a scary prospect, especially for a team with difficult cap space situations pending.

Chiefs Fact of the Week

Kansas City is 13-19 all time in playoff appearances.

Chiefs Record of the Week

Wide receiver Stephone Paige holds the team record for most receiving yards in a game. He gained 309 yards versus the San Diego Chargers on December 22, 1985.

Random Fact of the Week

The scientific term for brain freeze is “sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia”.

Sports Quote of the Week

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” ~Michael Jordan

Oddball Sport of the Week

Three-Sided football:

"“Football-or soccer as it is better known in the United States-is already in the Olympics, but there is one variation of the world’s favorite sport that is so bizarre it is nearly a unique game of it’s own. Three-sided football follows many of the same rules of the traditional game with a notable twist: Instead of two teams facing off, three teams play each other at the same time. The team that concedes the fewest goals by the end of the match is the winner.”"