Is Patrick Mahomes Worth His Half-Billion Dollar Contract?

Jul 7, 2020, 3:13 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2022, 1:19 pm
Patrick Mahomes...
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs onto the field during pre-game prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The sports world was shocked when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed an extension that could be worth just north of $503 million and guaranteed money in the nine-figure range.

Usually, NFL players are not getting these types of deals, or for that length, usually, those go to Major League Baseball players, but now Mahomes is the highest-paid athlete in North America – the first time ever that title has belonged to a football player.

Mahomes deal is also has a higher yearly per year average than the highest NBA player which is Steph Curry who is earning $40.2 million.

To say this is a big-time deal would be a massive understatement.

This contract is unique in so many ways with the no-trade clause, the number of years, and that half-a-billion potential price tag to this deal. Mahomes is essentially going to retire a Chief as the deal goes through 2031 as one of the richest athletes ever.

Mahomes already has a Super Bowl under his belt and is on his way to potentially quite a few more, barring anything major. The contract still includes his rookie deal for two more years and those relative savings in comparison to what is upcoming in 2022 will allow the Chiefs to retain and sign talent to keep them atop the AFC for the next five to 10 years.

Is A Quarterback Worth This Much?

Players are worth what owners and teams are willing to pay so by the extent of that, Mahomes is worth just over $500 million. Even if it seems like a lot money, which it is, the value is worth it for the Chiefs to keep the best quarterback in the game locked up for a decade.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell knows a thing or two about large NFL contracts during his playing days as a quarterback and knows that timing is a key component in landing the biggest deal possible.

“The good side about this is about maximizing getting paid in the NFL and it is timing. Here is a guy who everyone thinks is the top quarterback — maybe even top player in the NFL right now,” Mitchell said. “He just wins the Super Bowl. He plays a significant role in the playoff and Super Bowl. You have Kansas City with a rabid fanbase and they can’t get out of their own way. For years, they have all of these teams, but he is the one guy to take him to the next level.”

KSL Sports Alex Kirry says a lot of credit must go to head coach Andy Reid who saw Mahomes as a rookie while having a pretty good quarterback in Alex Smith and led them to the playoffs for three straight years.

“How insanely smart is Andy Reid. When he said, ‘Alex Smith you are a serviceable quarterback, you win games for us, you have taken us to the playoffs, but I have watched this cat in practice,'” Kirry said. “He is the future to the tune of 10 years and more than $400 million, what a gamble.”

There is some bad news to this contract and it is due to the length of the deal which is for 12 years and a 10-year extension once his rookie deal expires. Even if Mahomes get even better and wins MVP awards and Super Bowls and his contract will very likely remain the same.

“The bad news is the time,” Mitchell said. “He is locked in for 12 years and this is like the end of his career. Everyone is saying ‘this is insane.’ I remember when I signed a contract some 30 years ago (3-year, $11 million deal with the Detroit Lions) and people were up in arms saying it is insane and paying a guy so much money. Everyone is saying that today, myself included. It is almost half-a-billion dollars and it is crazy to hear that number.”

Don’t be crying for Mahomes who even if he gets hurt and never plays another down will take home well over $100 million in guarantees from this deal. It is a calculated risk to a degree to bet on yourself and lock into one team so early in one’s career.

Who Got The Better End Of The Deal?

NFL contracts are very different in comparison to other pro sports in that these deals are not fully guaranteed. Mahomes’ deal includes $141 million in guarantees so even if he ends up being a flop in a few years or suffers a massive injury he is still set his family up for generational wealth.

There are two thoughts to a long-term deal like this. The first is that the team signs him for that length in order to lock them into a lower deal, relatively speaking, because the tail end of this contract could see him actually be underpaid during years eight, nine, and 10 of this extension.

Mahomes’ contract extension does tie him to the Chiefs for the rest of his career but the deal works extremely well for him as well because this money is massive and it does provide Kansas City with some room to add players and not have all of their money tied into the quarterback position.

There have been pro athletes who have not been paid fairly by signing these long-term deals and one example that was brought up recently was Scottie Pippen who signed a five-year $18 million contract early on with the Chicago Bulls. Later on, he blew past that value and was at one point the 122nd highest-paid player in the NBA.

Mahomes’ deal will not go to that level but the way quarterback contracts seemingly one-up each other for the next long-term deal which could be Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson. That is something Mitchell points out at how the end of the deal will skew heavily in favor of the Chiefs.

“The problem is at the end of this thing he will be underpaid,” Mitchell said. “He has set the bar today and think of 10 years from now. Some of the better players get screwed over in the contract because they are so good and get a contract extension and then locking them in long term. This is really smart for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“There will be a guy making $60 million a year in five years and Patrick Mahomes will say, ‘I have won two or three Super Bowls, I am the best player in the league and I am underpaid by $20 million per.’ He deserves it and he got it because of how he played, but in a few years, he will be mad about it.”

It is highly likely that Mahomes will “be mad” about his contract when he is bringing in over $40 million per year and then some other quarterback eventually passes him by. That is sort of how NFL contract works for quarterbacks and no one should be made if someone passes them over by a few million dollars a year when both are basically cashing lottery tickets each season and setting up their families for generations.

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