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Clark Hunt: Mahomes contract doesn’t have to be this offseason

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The Chiefs’ star quarterback is widely expected to get a new contract this offseason — but the team’s owner stopped short of saying that’s what will happen.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of whether the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV, it’s been presumed that the team’s first order of offseason business will be to sign their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a long-term contract extension that is likely to be the largest contract ever given to an NFL player — as much as $200 million or more.

But speaking in Miami as his team prepares for its first appearance in the league’s championship game in 50 years, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — while acknowledging signing Mahomes to a long-term deal is a priority for the team — stopped short of saying it would happen right away,

“There will be a right time sometime in the next 12 to 15 months to extend Patrick,” he said via ESPN. “And when I say ‘right time,’ I mean right time for both the player and the club.

”I don’t want to say necessarily it has to be this offseason,” he added, “but I will say that it’s a priority to get him done.”

And Hunt spoke the words Chiefs fans most want to hear.

”I hope Patrick is here for his entire career — and that’s going to be our goal.’’

Now completing the third year of his four-year rookie contract, Mahomes would be eligible for a contract extension after the season is concluded. But since Mahomes was a first-round draft selection, the Chiefs can also exercise the fifth-year option on his contract to keep him with the team through the 2021 season.

It seems unlikely the Chiefs would go to that extreme — if for no other reason than the already-extreme market value for quarterbacks will continue to rise — but the team has other problems, too.

One is the yet-unresolved contract situation with defensive tackle Chris Jones, whom the Chiefs hoped to sign to a contract extension before the 2019 season. The Chiefs also have only two cornerbacks under contract for 2020. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Chiefs might consider delaying Mahomes’ extension for a year.

There is yet another variable to consider: the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association ends after the 2020 season. Either the Chiefs or Mahomes’ representatives — led by longtime sports agent Leigh Steinberg — may seek to delay an agreement until the new CBA is in place, hoping that the new deal will give them an advantage they don’t currently have.

So there are many layers to consider. In the short term, we can expect something similar to what we saw last season with Jones: after the Super Bowl, Steinberg and the Chiefs will start talking about a new Mahomes contract.

What we don’t know is how long they will keep talking before a deal is finalized.