When Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed his current 12-year contract three years ago, he nudged the bar for the highest average per year (APY) by roughly $10 million, to $45 million annually.
Now, with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson at $52 million per year, Mahomes has fallen $7 million per year behind the highest-paid player in the sport.
Chiefs G.M. Brett Veach already has vowed to address the Mahomes deal after more quarterback contracts are completed. While Veach didn’t delve into any specifics, here’s what reasonably should be expected, based on our conversations with folks aware of the dynamics of the situation.
Expect Mahomes, before the season begins, to once again be the highest-paid player in league history.
The details will be interesting, and subject to differing interpretations. Because Mahomes has nine years left on his current contract, a new-money APY in excess of $52 million per year would be obtained simply by tacking three years and a penny more than $156 million on the back end of the existing deal.
The real question will become the value of the contract from the moment it’s signed. Also relevant to the analysis will be the full guarantee at signing, and the cash flow in the first three years of the revised deal.
In 2020, Mahomes swapped a high APY and a complicated but lucrative guarantee structure for cash flow in the years that were most likely to be affected by the pandemic. Now that those days have come and gone, the cash flow can be boosted in the early years of a revised deal.
Whether big-picture proclamations or devilish details, a new deal is coming for Mahomes, sooner than later. He has more than earned it — and with each new quarterback deal that is done, his own situation becomes more glaring. Look for that to at least be partially rectified in the coming weeks or months.
Ultimately, Mahomes is trying to strike the balance of fair compensation with leaving enough cash behind to have a team that lets him pursue championships and, ultimately, to chase Tom Brady’s all-time record of seven championships. Mahomes needs five to tie, six to win.
While not yet a real threat to Brady, Mahomes isn’t far from making things interesting. And that could be enough to get Brady interested in trying to get to No. 8 before it’s all said and done, just in case.