Lamar Jackson says Patrick Mahomes deserved his 10-year, $503 million extension.
Every upper-tier NFL contract is part of a bigger puzzle, and the signing of a big-money deal on the part of any player affects everyone else at his position. When a player reaches agreement on a contract that will pay them significant amount, it helps to establish new expectations and thresholds for other players eyeing similar agreements in the future. A rising tide raises all boats.
There is one notable exception, however. When Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year, $503 million contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs in the last week, the jaw-dropping amounts in involved in both time and money made it an outlier of a deal. Fellow quarterbacks hoping for contracts of their own in the future, even ones over several years for a lot of money, cannot use the Mahomes extension as any comparable metric to come up with their own expectations.
In short, Mahomes is a planet unto himself.
You’ll witness this phenomenon (the ignoring of Mahomes contract) as others like Dak Prescott come to the table for new extensions of their own. Prescott will be paid plenty by the Dallas Cowboys, but those figures will remain at the second tier, right around the marks set by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, rather than anything approaching Mahomes.
The only player with a similar enough early career trajectory to even think about reaching for what Mahomes received from the Chiefs is Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Like Mahomes, he won the NFL MVP early in his career and is leading a contender with annual expectations to win a Super Bowl. The Ravens, like the Chiefs, are loaded on both sides of the ball and Jackson is a dynamic performer who makes his team much more dangerous.
On a recent appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Jackson was interviewed about a number of topics. When asked about Mahomes’ new contract, he laughed at the sheer scope of it and admitted Mahomes deserved it.
"“I’ve gotta win me a Super Bowl. I’ve gotta get what he has. It’s a crazy number. No one has ever dreamed about that, or probably dreamed about it but no one ever expected that, especially half a billion dollars. That’s different. He deserved it, though. He deserved it.”"
Jackson is one year behind Mahomes in terms of his NFL timeline, which means that if he can follow up an MVP campaign with even a deep postseason run, he’s likely in line for a mammoth contract extension that could mirror the one received by Mahomes. Then again, maybe Jackson knows what it takes. Maybe he does need to get himself a Super Bowl.
Either way, the Ravens and Chiefs are sitting pretty with young quarterbacks capable of so much with loaded rosters all around them.