Epic NFL deal gives Mahomes security, Chiefs dynasty hope
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Patrick Mahomes has the security he wanted from the so-called richest contract in American sports history, while the Kansas City Chiefs kept enough money to solidify a potential NFL dynasty.
The 24-year-old quarterback who led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory over San Francisco in February agreed Monday to a 10-year contract extension worth a possible $503 million (445 million euros).
Mahomes isn't likely to meet all the incentive clauses to pocket half a billion dollars and has only $140 million in guaranteed money, well below Major League Baseball star Mike Trout's guaranteed payout from a $426.5 million deal.
But Mahomes, signed through the 2031 campaign with two years remaining on his original deal, will basically be well paid as the years pass while leaving the Chiefs enough NFL salary cap room to surround him with strong blockers, receivers and rushers.
"We can be a great team moving forward and I can have the security I want," Mahomes said Tuesday in a virtual news conference. "I can't wait to build this legacy not only on the field but off it."
The basic $45 million a year average still shatters the $35 million annual average of the biggest prior NFL deal to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, but Mahomes has a backloaded deal to some extent.
"As much as I trusted them, they trusted me," Mahomes said. "We were able to go out and get this contract done the right way. It not only gives me security, it gives me the ability to have a lot of talent around me throughout my career.
"I had a lot of trust I could do a contract like this and we would have the same kind of stability at the end of the contract."
The Chiefs are betting that Mahomes can be a quarterback like Tom Brady, who can lead a team to six Super Bowl titles in 20 years as Brady did with New England while still play well after turning 40.
"He wanted to win and wanted to establish a dynasty," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "He's still growing and learning. He's hungry. He's special. At such a young age, he understands big-picture thinking."
The Chiefs hadn't won a Super Bowl in 50 years before Mahomes, the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player, sparked a 12-4 season and three playoff triumphs.
Now coach Andy Reid's squad knows how much Mahomes will cost for more than a decade and even with potential salary cap issues coming due to the coronavirus pandemic, that's crucial.
"He was very conscious about the whole situation, about being able to keep players," Reid said. "We will be able to go forward and sign players even if the cap situation does take a little hit."
- 'known factor' -
Veach stressed cost certainty as a key benefit as well as Mahomes's skills.
"We're dealing with a known factor now. We know where we're going to be," Veach said. "There's potentially a tough time ahead of us (with virus losses). No one knows where the cap is going to be next year.
"It prepares us for the future. We can prepare for next year when you have this structure and stability."
Veach says there might be another deal to negotiate later should Mahomes want to play into his 40s.
"We believe there could be another small one after it," he said. "That's how confident we are in this kid."
© 2020 AFP