There's a sentiment in the NFL that a team's best chance to win Super Bowls is when a quarterback is on his rookie deal. This allows teams to add talent around their star quarterback while not having to pay their signal-caller big bucks.
Once the quarterback needs to be extended, however, the race is on for the team to get something out of their quarterback's rookie contract. For the Kansas City Chiefs, they accomplished a ton during Patrick Mahomes' rookie contract, winning a Super Bowl in his third year in the league and reaching a second Super Bowl in the final year of his contract.
Following the Chiefs' Super Bowl win in the 2019 season, Kansas City signed Mahomes to a 10-year deal worth $503 million, set to run through the 2031 season. Chiefs fans had zero problem with this contract considering what Mahomes had accomplished early in his career but the outsiders wondered if the Chiefs could still compete once he was officially entering that contract.
After all, KC wouldn't be able to afford to keep their other stars and this was showcased right away when they traded Tyreek Hill in the 2022 offseason. Well, the Chiefs went on to win their second Super Bowl in four years. Oh and guess what? In year two of Mahomes' massive 10-year deal, the Chiefs are right back in the big game.
This is something that Kay Adams brought up when speaking with Sterling Holmes on the Arrowhead Addict podcast earlier this week.
"Patrick [Mahomes]'s the highest-paid quarterback so we're talking about the differences between him and Tom [Brady]. Tom had a whole salary cap vibe going on. Somehow this team with Patrick, [Brett] Veach deserves credit here because of the draft picks like [L'Jarius] Sneed the fifth-rounder, all of that. Like to have the highest-paid quarterback, "you can't win if you pay greatness" Yes, you can. Patrick is showing you. You can win. You can get to the Super Bowl with the highest-paid quarterback. How? You got to hit on everything else and they're doing it and that should be celebrated. "- Kay Adams
Chiefs continue to win despite Patrick Mahomes being the highest-paid QB
This is an interesting point that doesn't seem to get brought up as much these days. Anytime a quarterback would be nearing the end of their rookie deal, people would say that team's window closed. They'll no longer have the funds to keep star players around now that the star quarterback is about to make a boatload.
For some teams this is true. For the Chiefs, however, they've continued to win because the front office is doing a nice job with their draft picks and finding hidden gems, such as L'Jarius Sneed (as Kay mentioned), Isiah Pacheco, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith, to name a few. Not every draft pick is going to be a winner but more often than not, KC is getting slam dunks with their late-round picks and that's why they continue to be successful and make it to Super Bowls despite Mahomes making the most money at his position (and in the league).
It was great to hear Kay make this point because it's no longer an excuse for teams with expensive quarterbacks. If Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs can continue to win despite Mahomes making a crazy amount of money, other teams should be able to follow the model and win as well. Let's hope they don't though.