This deal will change a lot for the sport, the Chiefs, and other quarterbacks. It goes against the rest of the NFL offseason: According to Sports Illustrated, only three players got extensions with their current teams after the COVID lockdown started in March, and two more got deals with new teams after they were traded. Teams, fearful of 2021 salary cap problems due to revenue shortfalls if games are played without fans, have mostly stopped signing extensions. As with most things, Mahomes was the exception: This is a man who erases double-digit leads in the playoffs and makes it look easy. Now he signs the biggest contract in NFL history in the face of a global pandemic when all NFL teams are nervous about their long-term cap situation. He really can do it all.
When Katie Camlin arrived at work Monday afternoon in Kansas City, Missouri, her boss had news for her.
Some Chiefs employees, he told her, had come to their Plaza Liquor store in search of six bottles of Dom Perignon champagne. A big signing, it appeared, was on the way.
Camlin’s first thought: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was about to cash in.
“Off the cuff, I tweeted it because I’m a Chiefs fan and I was beyond excited,” Camlin told USA TODAY Sports by phone Monday evening. “It’s kind of fun to have a scoop.”
Mecole Hardman, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Travis Kelce: Anyone playing with Mahomes will benefit by association. I single out Hardman and rookie running back Edwards-Helaire because they will have a chance to truly grow with Mahomes. During his analyst days, Jon Gruden was fond of saying how Brett Favre changed the lives of countless Packers coaches, executives and players. Essentially: Favre helped get them all paid because of his greatness. Hardman and CEH will get more opportunities to put up massive numbers, play in meaningful games and have greater careers than if they were drafted to play behind Mitchell Trubisky.
Kelce is in a different stage of his career, already established as one of the game’s best tight ends. His association with Mahomes, however, gives him a real chance to one day get a gold jacket.
Mahomes will no longer be that kind of bargain, but is there any reason to believe that even as the NFL’s highest-paid player, the Chiefs won’t still get plenty of value from him? His career is already on a trajectory that will make him one of the NFL’s greats. He is averaging 38 touchdown passes over his two seasons as the starter. Based on that average, Mahomes would have 532 TD throws when his new contract expires.
Only Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning currently have more. Thirty-eight touchdown passes a season is ambitious for anyone but doesn’t sound outrageous for Mahomes as long as he’s partnered with coach Andy Reid. The two have been good for each other, and the Mahomes contract extension ensures he will take the 62-year-old Reid to the end of his coaching career.
Mahomes (6-3, 230) has started 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Chiefs (2017-19). He’s completed 724 of 1,099 pass attempts (65.9%) for 9,412 yards with 76 touchdowns and only 18 interceptions (108.9 rating). He’s rushed 110 times for 500 yards (4.5 avg.) with four TDs. In postseason play, Mahomes has completed 115 of 184 pass attempts (62.5%) for 1,474 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions (106.6 rating). Mahomes has started two seasons for the club, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2019 and 2020. He helped lead the club to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances followed by a victory in Super Bowl LIV, earning the game’s MVP award.~times for 500 yards (4.5 avg.) with four TDs. In postseason play, Mahomes has completed 115 of 184 pass attempts (62.5%) for 1,474 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions (106.6 rating). Mahomes has started two seasons for the club, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2019 and 2020. He helped lead the club to back-to-back AFC Championship Game ap
2. Who cares if it’s stupid?! Gigantic, absurdly-long contracts are hilarious and irresponsible and perfectly American. And in this godforsaken time, we need all of the plain old silliness we can get. As a reminder, the last quarterback to sign a deal of this magnitude was … Daunte Culpepper. That was back in May 2003. He was in Oakland by 2007. He retired a Sacramento Mountain Lion by 2013. History serves as a reminder for us not to take anything that seriously.
The announcement of this extension now allows Veach to focus on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones. The Chiefs and Jones haven’t had much dialogue on a new deal, largely because the team has no idea how the 2021 salary cap will be affected by the fallout from COVID-19. If the NFL is holding games without fans in the stands, which is a real possibility, then the projected salary cap will take a huge hit. Our own NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport already has reported that the 2021 cap could be $40 million lower than this year’s total of $198.2 million (the Chiefs, by the way, already have financial commitments of nearly $176 million for 2021).
The question is simple: Can Mahomes be great enough for the duration of his contract, or even the majority of it, to lead the Chiefs to multiple titles even with an inferior roster around him? If any quarterback can, he’s the one. There has never been anyone in the league quite like him, and what’s scary is that he has plenty of room to get better, which is absurd and true in equal measure.
Andy: It should go without saying that our goal should alway be to find the next Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, and to draft that quarterback at a spot that allows us to use our early picks on RBs and receivers. But whenever I see either Mahomes or Jackson slip to the the early third, I’m interested. We tend to overuse the term “league-winner” when describing various players, but it’s an inarguably accurate description of Mahomes in 2018 and Jackson in 2019. Fantasy managers should be thinking upside at every point in their drafts; our top two quarterbacks have already produced two of the greatest seasons in the history of the position. The Chiefs clearly have the look of a team that will again average over 30 points per game, as long as Mahomes remains healthy. While he may not duplicate his cartoonishly great 2018 stats, he’s a near-lock to finish among the top-3 at his position.
1. AFC West
They could rename this division the AFC TE, because it’s far and away the top dog here. You could cut away all the backups, and the four-team starting lineup alone is enough to justify their spot. If Kelce isn’t the best in the game, he’s a hair behind Kittle, boasting four straight 80-catch, 1,000-yard seasons as Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target. Waller could be due for regression after a monster breakout, but you also don’t catch 90 balls and 80 percent of your targets by accident. Henry has an infamous injury history but is bona fide Pro Bowl material when he’s on the field. And Fant, 22, had a promising 2019 with an even brighter future ahead.
Around the NFL
The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, was signed by 15 Native American advocates. It demands that the team and the NFL cease the use of Native American names, imagery and logos — with specific importance put on Washington, which last week launched a “thorough review” of its name.
The letter was sent on the same day that President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to any name change by the team. Several team sponsors have come out in favor of change recently and Snyder showed his first indication of willingness to do so amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols.
Contract expires: 2022
The Texans don’t necessarily have to rush to pay Watson, who can still be tagged after 2022, and they may have an extra incentive to wait considering the uncertainty of 2021’s salary cap. But it’s clear they want him around for the long haul, and they’ll have to pay big bucks to make that happen — perhaps as much as $40-50M per season, an annual total that would rival even that of Mahomes, at least early on. If Bill O’Brien’s stint as both coach and general manager unravels in the next year or two, the negotiations could be even more complicated, especially if team management doubles down on its commitment to O’Brien, whose trade of star receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason reportedly disturbed the Pro Bowl QB.
“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”
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In any case, it is consistent with an NFLPA-proposed training camp schedule that NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero laid out on Friday:
Three days of medical and equipment checks
21 days of strength and conditioning
10 days of unpadded practice
14 days of practice (10 maximum — eight of them padded)
That schedule also fits with the NFLPA’s position that no preseason games should be played; under this timeline, the Chiefs’ first padded practice could not take place before August 28 — almost a week after the first preseason game (now scheduled for August 22) — and just one day before the second exhibition game now set for August 29.
A tweet to make you think
The Young man deserve it all. One of the best I’ve been around. One of the Greats. #15 #RunItBack— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) July 6, 2020
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