Patrick Mahomes will be the First QB in NFL History to Complete a 10-Year Contract
Mark Van Sickle
Patrick Mahomes will be a Kansas City Chief through February 2032. The 10-year $503 million contract extension that was signed on July 6 goes down as the largest contract in American sports history. However, while Mahomes’ deal is the most lucrative of all time, he is not the first quarterback to sign a 10-year contract. There are five quarterbacks who had these deals set in place, but none of them saw the end of their decades. Though history will tell you these deals aren’t supposed to work out, Mahomes should become the first to see a 10-year contract to completion.
Brett Favre was the first to sign a 10-year contract and the first to sign a $100 million deal in what was deemed to be a “lifetime contract” with the Green Bay Packers in 2001. Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons but quickly traded to the Packers in his second year in the league. This 10-year deal was his third extension with the Packers, and he signed it at age 32. Many people compared Mahomes to Favre when he was coming into the league, but Mahomes signed his 10-year extension at 24 years old with what is expected to be his best days ahead of him. Favre had a handful of good seasons after the record-breaking signing, but the Packers had a young star in the making named Aaron Rodgers that needed playing time. Favre “retired” after the 2007 season before promptly jumping back into the league to finish out his career with the Jets and Vikings. This wasn’t a bad deal for either party, and generally worked out well, but Favre didn’t get to end his career as a Packer. Mahomes has suggested he wants to be a Chief for life and his new deal could very well get him to that point.
Drew Bledsoe, the former New England Patriots quarterback, signed a 10-year, $103 million contract in March of 2001. Bledsoe was already an eight-year veteran at the time of the signing and would only start two games of that contract due to an injury and being replaced by future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady. Despite the years and amount of money tied to the contract, Bledsoe was only guaranteed $24 million in the deal. This ended up working out fine for the Patriots since they were able to utilize Brady on his rookie deal and turn him into a superstar. Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2002 and made one Pro Bowl there before finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a solid NFL quarterback but will always be known as the guy who paved the way for Brady in New England. Meanwhile, Mahomes will forever be known as the guy who elevated his team to the next level when his predecessors could never get them to the mountain top.
Donavan McNabb will forever be tied to current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. McNabb was Reid’s first quarterback project during his time as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Previously, Reid had been the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay and guided Brett Favre during their back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1996-1997. McNabb was a rising star under Reid and signed a 12-year contract worth $115 million dollars in September 2002. He topped Favre and Bledsoe, who had just signed their 10-year deals. While those guys were older, McNabb was just getting started, similarly to Mahomes’ situation. However, unlike Mahomes, McNabb had not won any League MVPs to this point in his career and had not been to a Super Bowl. However, after signing the deal, he did lead the Eagles to three straight NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl appearance. McNabb was close to reaching the 10-year point in the contract when he was traded to Washington. He signed one more big extension with Washington before ultimately falling out of the league in 2013. Mahomes is already viewed as a more transcendent player than McNabb ever was, and his pairing with Reid could lead to a dynasty in Kansas City over the next few seasons.
Former Minnesota Vikings star quarterback Daunte Culpepper was given a 10-year, $102 million contract extension in 2003 at age 26. The Vikings wanted to keep him in Minnesota for his whole career, and Culpepper wanted the same. He started the contract with a bang and finished the 2004 season with, what was at the time, one of the greatest statistical seasons for a passer in NFL history. Unfortunately for Culpepper and the Vikings, injuries took its toll and he was never able to see significant playing time again after 2005. This is the biggest fear for Chiefs fans and front office alike. Many think this is the only significant thing that could derail Mahomes’ career.
Michael Vick signed a 10-year $130 million contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004, at the age of 24. Unfortunately, Vick didn’t play out that contract in full due to being arrested in connection to dogfighting at his home property in Virginia. He played two seasons with Atlanta under that deal before spending two years out of the league. After serving his time in jail, Vick was given a second chance in Philadelphia with Andy Reid, where he re-ignited his career. It isn’t hard to imagine Vick being the first guy who would have played out his 10-year contract in full if he had made better choices along the way.
Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach and Mahomes were both adamant about wanting to have a fair price for both sides while also having the ability to surround him with the necessary talent to help create a dynasty. The terms that were agreed upon seem to make this a possibility. Earning a league MVP and Super Bowl MVP in back to back seasons is a great starting point for Mahomes' career. He hasn’t even come close to hitting his prime and still has room to improve, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league. Mahomes and Reid make for a perfect pair in Kansas City, and there's still growing to do. Some think a $503 million payday to one player will limit the Chiefs' ability to reach multiple Super Bowls. However, I agree with Seth Keysor in thinking it is just one more thing that Mahomes can do to prove people wrong.
While there will be many doubters along the way, if Mahomes wants to build a dynasty and win multiple Super Bowls, he has the ability to get it done. For now, fans can look forward to at least 12 more years of Mahomes in a Chiefs uniform.