Patrick Mahomes got PAID but don’t get carried away
Patrick Mahomes is going to be a Chief for a long, long time after signing a contract extension that tacks an extra 10 years onto the two years remaining on his current deal. It’s a no-brainer for Kansas City to lock up the most talented quarterback of his generation and a great opportunity for Mahomes to cash in after tearing the league up for two years.
The contract came with all sorts of breathless media coverage because the maximum amount of money Mahomes could earn is north of $500 million. Adam Schefter touted the contract’s alleged status as the richest in sports history, which is what Mahomes’s agent, Leigh Steinberg also tweeted. But you should take that with a grain of salt.
What’s Mahomes got to do to make all that money? Just trigger $477 million worth of “guarantee mechanisms.” What are those? Beats me! I can never, in all my years of following the NFL, remember hearing the phrase “guarantee mechanisms.” Even Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio referred to the mystical phrase as “whatever those are.”
If you know anything about NFL contracts and you’re not in the business of carrying the water for agents, you know that the chances of Mahomes seeing that full $503 million are miniscule. As with any NFL contract, there are ways for the Chiefs to get out of it if Mahomes underperforms on the back end. Florio called it “a pay-as-you-go deal for the Chiefs.”
Conor Orr wrote something better than I could about what the Mahomes numbers mean but what really sticks in my mind is hype about the BIGGEST CONTRACT IN PRO SPORTS.
Mahomes is only really guaranteed $63 million at signing and $140 million in the event of a catastrophic injury, which is far shy of what many baseball players are set to earn under their fully guaranteed contracts.
Mike Trout’s record-setting contract with the Angels is a 12-year deal worth $426.5 million. He’ll make a little less now that players were forced to take pay cuts for this shortened season but the rest of the money is fully guaranteed unless he retires. The only “guarantee mechanism” was putting pen to paper. Mahomes will almost definitely make more than the $140 million injury guarantee but that number is on par with what Jacob deGrom, Eric Hosmer and Patrick Corbin are set to make. If you’re not a big baseball fan, you probably don’t even know what teams those guys play for.
If there’s anybody who should be signing the biggest contract in NFL history, it’s 24-year-old quarterback who’s already won an MVP and a Super Bowl in two years as a starter. If Mahomes performs like we expect him to over the next 12 years, $500 million is more than fair. To put that in perspective, though, that would be double what the NFL’s all-time leader in career earnings, Eli Manning, earned over 16 seasons ($252 million). Congratulations to Mahomes on finally being able to get a pay raise, but his contract should be a reminder of just how hard it is for NFL players to get paid what they’re worth.
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