We’re going to hear a lot of moaning and groaning from very serious online people in the coming days about how Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes’s historic 10-year, up-to-$503 million contract extension should have been tied to the salary cap or somehow anchored to the performance of DOW futures. And that this deal was irresponsible, and doesn’t move the needle, and actually needed to be structured in a way that hammered the Chiefs at every conceivable turn in order to maximize Mahomes’s historical leverage.
We’ll respond with two bullet points:
1. There is no chance Mahomes actually plays out the additional 10 years on his deal, so none of this really matters anyway. The extension reportedly includes $477 million in guarantee mechanisms, a phrase we are all excited to learn more about, but announcing the terms of the Mahomes deal is like telling customers at Olive Garden that the soup, salad and breadsticks are unlimited. We all know there is a mountainous level of legalese (never mind the constraints of the human stomach) that would put an end to this whole charade before we ever sniff the outer reaches of limited. If someone is able to dig this column up from our massive internet trash heap in a decade and I’m proven wrong, I’ll grill and eat the laptop I used to type this sentence.
2. Who cares if it’s stupid?! Gigantic, absurdly-long contracts are hilarious and irresponsible and perfectly American. And in this godforsaken time, we need all of the plain old silliness we can get. As a reminder, the last quarterback to sign a deal of this magnitude was … Daunte Culpepper. That was back in May 2003. He was in Oakland by 2007. He retired a Sacramento Mountain Lion by 2013. History serves as a reminder for us not to take anything that seriously.
We love ridiculous, 10-year contract extensions because of their ultimate hollowness and faux-epicness. It’s akin to tattooing the name of your high school sweetheart on your forearm or eloping with that (generationally talented) lounge singer you met on the cruise ship because if you waited a minute longer the world wouldn’t know how much you really cared.
Have you ever looked back on an old draft telecast or episode of Hard Knocks and watched as these football people project the future of the NFL with the confidence of a professor who has a doctorate in an extremely niche field that has somehow become relevant? This is a league that is not even certain how it's going to conduct training camp. This is a sport that stylistically changes in significant ways once every half decade. This is a society that cannot even fathom what is coming down the pike tomorrow. But yes, take comfort that Mahomes will most certainly be in Missouri a decade from now.
The uber-contract is a wonderful middle finger to the ridiculous level of efficiency with which agents and teams have learned to tango. Most contracts are so yawn-inducingly easy to predict, with everyone fighting over the shavings of a dime as it relates to injury guarantees in a season that we cannot even say with any degree of certainty will exist. And then comes a player that gets a team and a fan base so ridiculously excited that they blow the whole thing up for the hell of it.
Then, the delicate tango in which all of the agents and teams began to operate this offseason is for naught. Have fun Cowboys and Dak Prescott; the ceiling has changed.
So, here’s to Mahomes and the Chiefs. There is nothing quite like a honeymoon of this magnitude. We appreciate the passion and the chaos. But let’s all try and take it one day at a time.
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