Former New York Jets general manager and Miami Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum appeared on ESPN’s NFL Live as an analyst on Tuesday, and he had some rather complimentary words for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
TANNENBAUM: “The mark of a great player is, ‘Does he make the players around him better?’ And [Patrick Mahomes] shored up a lot of things for them — some offensive line questions, some skill players that were in and out last year, he made everyone around him better. And I would say this: when you look at his cap number, 4.5 this year, 5.2 next year, and his 50 touchdowns and his age, I would say in all four major sports, who else would you rather have, player and contract than Patrick Mahomes right now on his rookie deal? He is by far, in my opinion, the best player and the best value of any player of any of the sports in our country right now because of his production and his price.”
Tannenbaum noted that Mahomes’ cap number for next year is around $5.2 million, but we know that will likely change at the end of the season once the quarterback is eligible for an extension. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in January Mahomes could sign a $200 million contract next offseason.
The moral of the story? The Chiefs need to take advantage of this 2019 season—the final year of Mahomes’ career in which his salary number will be low.
To Tannenbaum’s early points, Mahomes also faced much adversity last season when it came to the players around him. Mahomes played with two different left guards (Cam Erving, Jeff Allen), three different centers (Mitch Morse, Austin Reiter, Jordan Devey) and three different right guards (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Jordan Devey, Andrew Wylie) during the course of the 2018 season, and he lost his starting running back (Kareem Hunt) and his backup (Spencer Ware), as well as his No. 2 wide receiver (Sammy Watkins) for a good chunk of the season.
Despite all those losses—and the 31st-ranked defense in yards-per-game—the Chiefs still managed to post 12 wins and clinch a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Tannenbaum nailed it on the head when he said Mahomes has “the best value of any player of any of the sports in our country,” but in my opinion, it’s worth taking it a step further.
When it comes to the single season of 2019, when the Chiefs now know what they have in Mahomes, there may not be a more valuable player in the history of professional sports.
Anything less than a Super Bowl championship should be considered a failure, as the Chiefs won’t have such an opportunity (given the rarity of an NFL MVP on his rookie deal and a new CBA coming) ever again.