The contract extension Patrick Mahomes signed with the Chiefs in July is such that it can only be described as massive no matter how it’s viewed.
The 24-year-old quarterback’s new deal is the richest contract in NFL history. With an average annual salary of $45 million once the extension kicks in starting with the 2022 season, no player in American team sports will make more money on an annual basis.
And yet, this is still a good deal for the Chiefs, who now have the reigning Super Bowl MVP locked in for the next 12 years. Mahomes will count for only $5.347 million against Kansas City’s salary cap in 2020 as the team attempts to repeat as champions, and the contract is back-loaded in a way that accounts for what’s expected to be a rising salary cap over the next decade.
So, in short, the Chiefs will never be overpaying for Mahomes as long as he continues to be the kind of player he has been since he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. If anything, he eventually will be underpaid.
Below are all the details of Mahomes’ massive contract extension with the Chiefs, pieced together with reporting from Pro Football Talk and Spotrac.
In total, Mahomes could earn up to $502.631 million over the next 12 years if he hits all of his incentives. The base value of his contract, including the next two seasons before his extension kicks in, is $477.631 million for an average of $39.8 million per year. Starting in 2022, Mahomes will make an average of $45 million per year.
Below is the amount of cash Mahomes will earn in each of the next 12 years, because we all know the cold hard cash is what matters. The total cash each year is made up of Mahomes’ base salary, roster bonus and workout bonus, not including signing bonus pay and incentives.
At least until the late years of Mahomes’ contract, most of his money will be paid in the form of roster bonuses that will become fully guaranteed a year or two ahead of time. (More on those guarantees below.)
As for Mahomes’ cap hits over the next 12 years, the amount will peak in 2027, when the QB is scheduled to count for $59.95 million against the Chiefs’ salary cap.
Below is the breakdown of Mahomes’ cap hit in each year of the contract. The figures include Mahomes’ $10 million signing bonus spread over the next five seasons.
Mahomes’ incentives are simple. Each year starting in 2022, he can earn $1.25 million if the Chiefs reach the Super Bowl and an additional $1.25 million if he is named NFL MVP for a maximum of $2.5 million per year in incentives.
Which means in order for Mahomes to the full $502.631 million his 10-year contract extension offers, he needs to lead Kansas City to the Super Bowl as the league MVP in every season for a full decade.
Though Mahomes’ contract features $141.428 million in guarantees over 12 years, he was guaranteed only $63.082 million at signing.
That $63.082 million includes Mahomes’ signing bonus, his base salary for the next three years and his 2021 and 2022 roster bonuses. Which means Mahomes’ contract essentially will be a year-to-year deal starting in 2023.
Multiple reports of Mahomes’ contract extension used the phrase « guarantee mechanisms, » which are just fancy words to describe the timeline of when chunks of money in the deal will become fully guaranteed.
Courtesy of Spotrac, below is the breakdown of when Mahomes’ guarantees for 2023-2031 are scheduled to kick in:
As the contract sits now, the dead cap charges on Mahomes’ contract end in 2024, but that’s before any of the above guarantees are activated.
In terms of years, Mahomes’ contract extension with the Chiefs is among the longest in NFL history. The only comparable deal in terms of length among active NFL players is left tackle Tyron Smith’s eight-year contract (2016-2023) with the Cowboys for roughly a quarter of the money. After Smith, 14 active NFL players are on six-year contracts.
Even though the Chiefs have Mahomes locked in for the next 12 seasons, the extension is for 10 years and is not unprecedented.
PFT cited Donovan McNabb’s 12-year deal with the Eagles in 2002 as the longest in NFL history in terms of years. Other quarterbacks — Brett Favre (Packers in 2001), Drew Bledsoe (Patriots in 2001), Michael Vick (Falcons in 2004), Daunte Culpepper (Vikings in 2003) — have signed 10-year contract extensions before Mahomes.
Of course, none of those deals can even sniff the amount of money in Mahomes’ contract with the Chiefs.
In 2001 I gave Brett Favre a 10-year deal averaging $11.25M when Cap was $60M (18.75% of Cap).
Today Pat Mahomes gets 12-year deal averaging $37.5M (450/12) when Cap is $200M (18.75% of Cap).
The Chiefs did not need to complete this extension when Mahomes had two seasons left on his rookie contract, but their doing so in 2020 maximizes the amount of years they can tie themselves to a quarterback who needed just a few seasons to take over the league.
Barring something unforeseen, Kansas City is now set at the game’s most important position for more than a decade at a reasonable price.
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