Anyone who follows the Chiefs or the NFL in general knew that when Patrick Mahomes rookie contract ran out, the Chiefs were going to mortgage the franchise and back up the Brinks truck to 1 Arrowhead Dr. The Chiefs front office would do all this to keep the leader of a new wave of quarterbacks that are drastically changing the way the game is played. With a star QB comes something else however, a monster contract, and Mr. Mahomes has certainly more than earned this on and off the field. Adam Teicher interviewed Clark Hunt, who said he wants Mahomes to be a Chief for his entire career. Let’s be honest, the kid should be given the key to the city while we’re at it. So why wait 12-15 months and not just get the contract finalized now? Here are some reasons why I believe this timeline makes the most sense.
Taking time to figure out what will end up being a record setting deal and see Pat become the highest paid player in the league, passing Russell Wilson who holds the title at approximately 35 million annually, only makes sense. Monster contracts don’t just materialize out of thin air, they take time. That is just how the NFL works; QB’s come up for free agency and depending on their performance the year previous, they can receive ludicrous sums of money. Don’t forget that at one point, coming off a Super Bowl season, Joe Flacco was the highest paid player in the lead. Kirk Cousins, who led the Redskins on an improbable playoff run, also became the highest paid player in the league. Most would argue that Flacco was mediocre even at the prime of his career, and Cousins is good but certainly not “highest paid player in the NFL” material. Mahomes has an option on his rookie contract that surely will be picked up, and since he was the 10thoverall pick, this option will cost around 19-20 million. If he had been picked one spot later at 11, this option would be around 7-8 million cheaper. I will gladly take an 8 million dollar hit to ensure that Mahomes lands in the Chiefs hands, and our Quarterback woes that seemed to last an eternity, would be over. So what do the Chiefs do with a QB who won MVP in essentially his rookie year and hasn’t showed any signs of slowing? They take their time, and figure out how to minimize the hit this contract will ultimately have on their salary cap.
So will Patrick Mahomes shoot for the stars dollar number in this contract, or sign a more team friendly, back loaded deal? If it’s the latter, this would help the team retain its’ current core of stars for a dynastical run a la the Patriots of the last decade. The good news on this is that Patrick Mahomes II is not in dire straights financially, nor has he ever been. Raised the son of a MLB pitcher, and being the hottest prospect in the endorsement market certainly puts him in a position that money isn’t his main motivator. His mom doesn’t need a new house, and he and his high school sweetheart Brittany already bought their own home in a nice suburb of the city. In all his interviews, the always politically correct Pat has stated his motivation isn’t personal fame or accolades, but success as a team and winning. Now this could possibly be the extremely well media trained Mahomes not wanting to give the media a Baker Mayfield-esque headline, but Pat has always come across as pretty genuine. There are also some financial reasons why waiting to make this record shattering contract beneficial.
If the Chiefs wait to make a deal with Mahomes until after the upcoming offseason, it will allow them to address a major elephant in the room; What do we do with Chris Jones? Do we sign him and have a ton of cap space tied up in the defensive line? If the Chiefs were to sign Pat to his deal before Chris Jones, that would almost assuredly lead to a franchise tag and trade situation for the game changing Jones. The importance of pressuring the quarterback up the middle cannot be overstated. Pressure from the outside allows QBs to scramble to the opposite side or step up into the pocket and get the ball out. Not only is Jones in the last year of his deal, but the only corners under contract next season are undrafted over-achiever Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton. We could decide to gamble on the draft or free agency for these positions, but if Breeland Speaks is any indication on how drafting defensive players goes, we should spend some money in keeping around the CB’s that are familiar with Spags system and the defense that has had a meteoric rise the second half of this season. Waiting a little while to lock Mahomes up long term also has a benefit on the greenback side of things. The salary cap is growing 8 million in 2020. Waiting a year and cashing in on the already wallet draining parking and ticket prices will give Clark Hunt more money to put into Mahomes signing bonus, which would also help with the cap hit of the deal. Perhaps Clark could take a page out of Robert Kraft’s playbook and invest in Mahomes charity, like Kraft did when he became a major investor in TB12. This isn’t exactly the most ethical way to take money off a contract, but the Pats aren’t exactly torch bearers of ethical standards. These reasons all seem to make sense into why Clark doesn’t want to rush into a team and league changing contract signing, which is exactly what Mahomes contract will be.
In an interview with ESPN reporter Adam Teicher, Clark Hunt said “there will be a right time in the next 12-15 months, for both player and club. Don’t want to say it has to be this offseason, but he’s definitely a priority”. As it should be, but there is absolutely no reason to rush into the agreement. How often do Vegas weddings work out? Not often. So that’s exactly how the Chiefs organization should treat this situation. This signing will be like a lifelong commitment, with communication and concessions made on both sides. If we want a dynasty, we can’t go the Aaron Rodgers route and mortgage the farm leaving no room for other valuable pieces to be added around the man, the myth, and the legend, Patrick Mahomes.