Patrick Mahomes had a chance to make history with his contract extension.
The history wouldn’t have been in the amount of money he would have received for his services. It should have been about the amount of money he was fully guaranteed.
Instead of hitting a home run, setting the salary bar and payment standard — and not just for him but all the players in the NFL — Mahomes inked an also-ran deal not worthy of his face-of-the-league status.
For sure, Mahomes blew a golden opportunity to change the salary structure in the NFL forever.
He could have been a modern-day Curt Flood, a man who helped usher in free agency in baseball.
Armed with a resume to die for, Mahomes couldn’t have only asked, but demanded a fully guaranteed contract like the ones they give out in MLB, the NBA and the NHL all day, everyday.
Yes, the deal should have been 12 years of guaranteed cheddar — all $503 million. In reality, Mahomes’ deal, according to The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer, has ONLY $63 million of fully guaranteed money at signing and $141 million in injury guarantees.
If there was one player with the juice to force his team to give in and properly compensate him, it was Mahomes. And no matter what the length or terms would have been, it should have been fully guaranteed.
What could the Chiefs do? Say no?
Please. They wouldn’t. They couldn’t.
Remember, Mahomes led this big-game losing franchise to its first Super Bowl title in 50 years. Yes, 5-0. The last time the Chiefs celebrated a championship sports writers were still using typewriters.
Mahomes’ golden arm changed all of that. And Mahomes, just 24, is loaded with weapons galore and appears to have a chance to get K.C. more titles.
And don’t think getting cashed out upfront would have been impossible, out of reach.
In 2018, Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins signed the league’s first fully guaranteed contract — three years, worth upwards of $84 million. At the time, it was the highest-paid contract, at signing, in NFL history.
And Cousins’ resume cupboard was bare compared to Mahomes at the time each guy signed.
That’s why Mahomes’ deal smells foul. We won’t call the Mahomes deal equivalent to the deal Scottie Pippen signed with the Bulls in 1991— and is still crying about it all these years later — but it’s close.
Mahomes’ deal is so unimpressive that other quarterbacks with way lesser talent — and no MVP or Super Bowl title — are basically making the same amount of money as he is.
Enter Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill. This offseason, Tannehill signed a four-year extension worth $118 million, including $62 million in fully-guaranteed money and $91 million in total guarantees, according to the NFL Network.
Also, Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater agreed to a three-year, $63 million contract ($24 million guaranteed the first year), according to ESPN.
Neither has any business being in Mahomes’ contract neighborhood.
In the end, no one will laugh at the mega 10-year contract extension Mahomes signed.
After all, on paper, at least, it was the largest-professional sports contract in history — a record $503 million.
But when you peel back the onion and look a little closer, there’s more sizzle than steak. Mahomes’ record-setting deal isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, some think it wasn’t wise and lopsided. And not in his favor, either.
The Chiefs won. They have total control of Mahomes’ next 12 years without being on the hook for the money for those years. Plus, it’s a one-sided out. K.C. has an out of the deal, not Mahomes. That just shouldn’t happen when you have leverage.
Worse, most would rather have the Angels’ Mike Trout’s $426 million contract over Mahomes’.
And it’s not because it’s more. It’s not. It’s because Trout’s is fully guaranteed.
Yes, Trout will get every single nickel owed to him no matter what. The chances of Mahomes getting every single penny? Not good at all.
And don’t go down the injury road as an excuse why this isn’t possible. With advances of medicine and rules that keep quarterbacks safe, players have been able to stay healthy and play a long time. Next season will be Tom Brady’s 21st in the NFL. New Orleans’ Drew Brees has been able to go onto a Hall of Fame career after a big-time injury to his passing shoulder when with the Chargers.
A transcendent player on the field, Mahomes had a chance to be a transcendent player off it, as well. This was his moment to be like LeBron when he decided that he would play the role of GM and put his own Super Team together taking his talents to South Beach, instead of waiting for the front office in Cleveland to get him better players.
And while you can argue if LeBron’s plan really worked — he has the most finals losses (six) of any former regular-season MVP in league history — there’s no denying that he started a trend.
Mahomes could have done the same thing. Had Mahomes landed a fully guaranteed contract, other NFL players could have followed his lead.
What a shame. Just like Mahomes’ new contract.