Patrick Mahomes is an obvious one. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif? Not so much. Either way, the K.C. Chiefs have given out no-trade clauses to both players in the last calendar year, and those two clauses make up 25 percent of all such guarantees in the National Football League.
Earlier this week, NFL reporter Field Yates floated the anecdote on Twitter that the NFL is very stingy when it comes to providing players with any real level of control over their futures. Typically, the no-trade clause is reserved for players who obviously are not going anywhere—highly paid, extremely talented quarterbacks, for instance. In total, he says there’s only eight of them. Here’s Yates’ original post.
With Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Deshaun Watson among the lot of players given a no-trade clause, it meant that four of the top six or eight quarterbacks in the league enjoyed that sort of contractual staple. When the Chiefs gave one to Mahomes, it made sense. The entire contract—the sheer enormity of it in duration and money—was intended to be an anchor of stability. It was a wedding ring given between franchise and quarterback, a symbol that the team didn’t want Mahomes to ever play for any other team, so help me God. Through that lens, handing out a rare no-trade clause is an obvious inclusion. If this reps asked for it, the answer is, “Of course!”
However, it’s interesting to see who else has received a no-trade clause from teams. Jimmy Garoppolo is understandable if the San Francisco 49ers truly felt he was going to be their franchise quarterback. DeAndre Hopkins is arguably the game’s best receiver, and the Arizona Cardinals were willing to include anything to get him to commit long-term in the desert. Then there’s Jimmy Graham who somehow got the Chicago Bears to give such guarantees. Then again, Ryan Pace is the same GM that wanted Mitchell Trubisky over both Mahomes and Watson.
The K.C. Chiefs have given out 25 percent of all no-trade clauses in the NFL.
As for Duvernay-Tardif, Yates himself notes that the no-trade clause was part of his restructured deal to help the Chiefs financially from last April. It’s impossible to know if, at that point, Duvernay-Tardif knew he might opt out for the entire season, but it certainly stands to reason that, either way, he wanted a bit of commitment from the Chiefs in exchange for giving them something in return. When staring down an uncertain future, Duvernay-Tardif bought something rare for himself that few NFL players can claim: a bit of security.
That’s not the say the Chiefs are beholden to Duvernay-Tardif. It’s possible they could always release him at some point in the future or try to trade him with permission. But even that modicum of control is more than most NFL players have. And since the dead cap space for cutting him would eclipse $7 million, LDT can rest assured he’s going to be a member of the Chiefs for 2021. Not that he was ever going anywhere. Here’s hoping he can slot right back in at his starting right guard role.