17 biggest contracts Kansas City Chiefs have ever handed out

Show me the money!
Super Bowl Winning Team Head Coach and MVP Press Conference
Super Bowl Winning Team Head Coach and MVP Press Conference / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs have given out their fair share of rich contracts during their franchise history. As the NFL's value continues to skyrocket, so do player salaries. With a long offseason ahead of us, let's take a look at the richest contracts the Chiefs have given out.

Before we dive in, it's important to note that veteran players' salaries aren't easily accessible like current and recently retired players' salaries are. This made it hard to track down the richest Chiefs contracts ever, which means something might have slipped through research and memory.

It was fun but also painful looking back at these particular contracts. Some of them you'll nod along with and think, "Money well spent". Others, however, you'll be shaking your head wondering, "What the heck were the Chiefs thinking?" So let's get to it so you can feel all the emotions!

17. Eric Berry (6 years, $50 million)

With their first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Eric Berry fifth overall and he became the last Chiefs first-round rookie to sign a lucrative deal. The following year started the trend of rookies not getting paid handsomely right off the bat and they'd have to earn that rich second contract.

Berry got rich right away, however, signing a six-year deal worth $50 million before he ever played a snap with the Chiefs. This isn't the only time that Berry appears on this list either so we'll dive more into his legacy with the Chiefs when that second contract pops up on the list.

16. Glenn Dorsey (5 years, $50.4 million)

Remember when I said that first-round rookies used to make bank from Day 1? Well, Glenn Dorsey is another example of this. The Chiefs paid the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft a total of $50.4 million on a five-year contract, and I think we can all agree that Dorsey was not worth the money.

Dorsey played all five years of his Chiefs contract and then played three more years with the 49ers before he was out of the league.

15. Tyreek Hill (3 years, $54 million)

The Chiefs extended Tyreek Hill in 2019 on a three-year deal worth $54 million. Hill had been a fifth-round pick in 2016 and became the Chiefs' number-one receiver and one of the best receivers in the NFL. In 2018 with Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback, Hill nearly passed the 1,500-yard mark and found the end zone 12 times.

This contract looks like a bargain now and Hill earned another massive payday with the Dolphins in 2022 after KC traded him. That deal was worth $120 million over four years, so yeah, the $54 million KC paid Hill in 2019 was, indeed, a bargain.

14. Jeremy Maclin (5 years, $55 million)

In 2015, the Chiefs pried Jeremy Maclin away from the Eagles, reuniting him with Andy Reid in Kansas City. Fans were elated. Maclin immediately looked the part of a number-one receiver, tallying 1,088 yards and 8 touchdowns during his first year with the Chiefs.

Unfortunately, Maclin missed time with injuries in 2016 and was shockingly released in the 2017 offseason. He didn't end up getting all $55 million of that contract, instead earning roughly $23 million during his Chiefs career, according to Over the Cap. Still, the $55 million the Chiefs initially planned to give him makes this list.

13. Dwayne Bowe (5 years, $56 million)

With the 23rd pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected LSU's Dwayne Bowe. He looked worthy of the pick over his first two years, tallying over 900 yards as a rookie and over 1,000 yards in 2008 (while catching passes from Chiefs legend Tyler Thigpen). He was slapped with the franchise tag for the 2012 season and the team eventually paid him like a number-one wide receiver the next offseason.

Bowe signed a five-year deal worth $56 million prior to the 2013 season and did not live up to the deal. He didn't get to the end of the contract, playing two years of the deal before getting released. He played for the Browns in 2015 and had a whopping five catches. The Chiefs made the right decision to move on from him but probably shouldn't have signed him to that contract in the first place.

12. Tyson Jackson (5 years, $57 million)

It really was crazy that a top-10 pick in the draft would go on to make an absurd amount of money before ever taking a snap in the NFL. Tyson Jackson is proof of how crazy that was, as the third overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft signed a five-year deal worth $57 million before he ever put on a Chiefs jersey and pads.

Jackson finished his career with the Falcons and was out of the league after the 2016 season. It's wild that Jackson makes it this high on the list when a lot of new fans wouldn't even know who he is (and for good reason).

11. Tamba Hali (5 years, $57.5 million)

As we inch closer to the top 10 of this list, we'll also start discussing Chiefs players who are the most-paid in franchise history. Tamba Hali is fifth all-time on the list of highest-paid Chiefs ever and this contract we're about to talk about helped set him up for that list. Hali was the Chiefs' first-round pick in 2006 and immediately made an impact, notching eight sacks as a rookie.

In 2010, the last year of Hali's rookie contract, he totaled a career-high 14.5 sacks, setting himself up to get paid in the 2011 offseason. The Chiefs ensured that Hali stuck around, inking him to a five-year contract worth $57.5 million and he showed he was worthy of that deal by racking up 12 sacks in 2011, 9 sacks in 2012, and 11 sacks in 2013.

While his sack numbers declined in 2014 and 2015, he still totaled at least 6 sacks during those two seasons. It was an expensive deal at the time but Hali proved to be worth it. He went on to spend the entirety of his career with the Chiefs and hung up the cleats following the 2017 season.

10. Matt Cassel (6 years, $63 million)

Hahahahaha. That's the best possible way I can think to kick off this entry. Let's get to how the Chiefs got themselves into this predicament.

In 2008, the Chiefs and Patriots were playing a Week 1 match-up at Arrowhead. Bernard Pollard made history when a hit he had on Tom Brady sidelined him for the entirety of the 2008 season, the only time Brady ever missed due to injury in his two-decade career. In came Matt Cassel, who led the Patriots to a 10-5 record but they missed the playoffs.

The Chiefs then traded for Cassel after his impressive stint with the Pats and signed him to a six-year deal worth $63 million. We all know how that went. Cassel had one good year in 2010 when the Chiefs won the AFC West but otherwise, this contract was a complete and total disaster.

Cassel was let go following the nightmare 2012 season but he's 12th on the list of all-time highest-paid Chiefs and this contract is still in the top 10 richest deals.

9. Alex Smith (4 years, $68 million)

Shifting gears to a less traumatic contract, the Chiefs traded for Alex Smith following Cassel's release in the 2013 season. In 2014, Smith signed an extension with KC, which was a four-year deal worth $68 million.

Smith brought consistency to the Chiefs organization at the quarterback position, which is something the team hadn't had in a very long time. He might not have been the best quarterback in the league and had games that made you want to pull your hair out but while he was the Chiefs quarterback, the team won games.

Smith was traded to Washington following the 2017 season and signed an even bigger contract with them (four years, $94 million). That's when the Patrick Mahomes era began in Kansas City and we all know how well that turned out for us.

8. Eric Berry (6 years, $78 million)

Remember when I said that Berry would make another appearance on the list? Well, here he is! Berry played well on his expensive rookie contract and then played on the franchise tag in 2016. Berry had shown that he was still an incredible player over those past few seasons and was crowned All-Pro in 2015 and 2016. Re-signing him was something that Chiefs fans wanted to see happen.

In 2017, the Chiefs signed the safety to a six-year deal worth a hefty price tag of $78 million. Unfortunately, injuries took their toll and Berry played only three games after he signed that contract. He's the third-highest-paid player in Chiefs history and while we all love Berry and what he brought to the team, this deal was one of the worst ones the Chiefs ever gave out.

T5. Chris Jones (4 years, $80 million) / Joe Thuney (5 years, $80 million) / Jawaan Taylor (4 years, $80 million)

Tied for the fifth spot are Chris Jones, Joe Thuney, and Jawaan Taylor, all of whom signed $80 million deals with the Chiefs in recent years. Thuney's was over a five-year time period while Jones' and Taylor's were for four years but I put them in the same spot since they signed for the same amount of money.

Jones will appear on this list again later on but his first mega deal came in 2020 when he signed for $80 million over a four-year span. Sixty million of that contract was guaranteed and considering that Jones appears on the list again, it's safe to say that he was worthy of that massive deal.

Thuney was signed after the Chiefs offensive line got worked in Super Bowl LV and he's been worth the money. Thuney made an immediate impact in the 2021 season, giving the Chiefs a durable left guard. While Thuney has missed time with injuries over the past two years, not many Chiefs fans would be mad about the deal the team signed him to.

As for Taylor, he signed his deal in the 2023 offseason with the intent to switch over to left tackle. He stayed at his preferred position of right tackle but was the most penalized player in the league, having 20 flags thrown in his direction. Time will tell if Taylor is worth the money he signed for but right now, it's not looking too good for him.

4. Justin Houston (6 years, $101 million)

With a third-round pick in 2011, the Chiefs snagged Justin Houston out of Georgia and wouldn't regret it. Houston became a superstar pass-rusher during his time in Kansas City and had a career-high 22 sacks in 2014.

The crazy-good season from Houston meant that the Chiefs were now going to have to pay him top-tier money, which they did in the 2015 offseason. Houston inked a gigantic six-year contract worth $101 million. Injuries led to Houston not being the same player he was during his rookie deal and he was released in 2019.

While Houston wasn't awful after he signed this deal, most fans would probably agree that he didn't live up to the contract. He's the sixth-highest-paid Chiefs player of all time.

3. Frank Clark (5 years, $104 million)

After the Chiefs traded Dee Ford in the 2019 offseason, they acquired Frank Clark from Seattle and signed him to a five-year deal worth $104 million before he ever took a snap in a Chiefs jersey. Fans didn't know how to feel about the contract and Clark was mostly underwhelming during his time as a Chief.

That being said, Clark the Shark showed up big time in the playoffs, and to some, that'd make his contract worth it. He's the seventh-highest-paid Chief of all time.

2. Chris Jones (5 years, $158.7 million)

The second-largest contract given out in Chiefs history was also one of their most recent contracts awarded, as Chris Jones inked a five-year deal worth $157.7 million in the 2024 offseason. Jones is the second-highest-paid player in Kansas City Chiefs history and while this is the richest deal he's signed with the team, he had previously agreed to a four-year contract worth $80 million in 2020.

Jones has been worth the money KC has dished out to him though, as he's a sack master, evidenced by his double-digit sacks in the last two years. Jones has really revved it up in the playoffs too and been a difference-maker there. We'll see if the Chiefs regret paying Jones this massive deal but if recent history is any indicator, he'll hopefully live up to the contract.

1. Patrick Mahomes (10 years, $450 million)

Everyone knew who number one was going to be and it's well-deserved. Patrick Mahomes, fresh off his first Super Bowl win in the 2019 season, signed a 10-year deal worth $450 million. It's not often that NFL players sign 10-year deals due to how violent the sport is but Mahomes had proven that he was worth it when he ended the 50-year Super Bowl drought.

The deal keeps looking like more of a bargain too, which is strange to say considering how much money Mahomes is making but it's true. Mahomes has led the Chiefs to four Super Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl titles, six AFC Championship appearances, and six AFC West titles. He's also won two MVP awards and is the best quarterback in the NFL.

It's no surprise that Mahomes is the highest-paid Chief of all time. He's earned whatever contract he wants until he's ready to retire.