One other thought here anticipating a common argument: We need to lose the tired narrative about teams not being able to pay top-of-market quarterback contracts while fielding contending teams. That is tired and a cop out; there is no reason why a team cannot now pay a quarterback $30 million and build a strong roster with a $200 million cap. Keep in mind: Most NFL rosters are built with about half the team on rookie contracts, with cap numbers in the $1 million range (usually lower). That’s about $25-30 million in cap room for half your roster, leaving $170-$175 million for the other half. Only poorly managed teams cannot handle this.
That’s right. His own team’s stadium. Arrowhead was built for an estimated $263 million (in 2019 dollars) way back in the 1960s-70s, and its 2007 renovations cost an estimated $440M in today’s money. With over $500M, Mahomes could at the very least buy naming rights to the open-air venue. In 10 years, aren’t Chiefs fans going to want to rename it Patrick Mahomes Field anyway?
KURT WARNER: The answer is nobody! Twelve years in the NFL feels like an eternity. No other quarterback has proven that type of worth or is young enough to make me believe he can carry my team for that long. I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, so for the sake of providing an answer, I’ll say ... Kyler Murray.
Where does this stand compared to other quarterback contracts?
You could easily argue that no player should be compared to Mahomes, who has a league MVP and a Super Bowl title in his first two full seasons as a starter. In terms of on-field performance, I agree. In terms of contracts, though, these sides were likely looking at the deals handed to other first-round quarterbacks since the league adopted its rookie scale for draft picks. That group consists of Mahomes and six other quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Blake Bortles, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
Of those, Goff and Wentz are the most comparable for two reasons. One is that they each signed an extension after their third season, just as Mahomes did. The other is that they were signed more recently than the other four passers. Wentz signed his extension in June 2019 before Goff followed in September. Wentz got $107.9 million in injury guarantees on his deal, with Goff topping him at $110 million. Amid the salary cap rising 5.3% this year over 2019, Mahomes just got $141.4 million, which is all of the cash he’s due over the next five seasons.
Consider that Goff, Wentz and Mahomes were already due somewhere between $26.8 million and $27.6 million over the final two years of their respective deals before signing extensions. Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million deal. Goff signed a four-year, $134 million deal. Mahomes will make $155.8 million in new money over the next four seasons as part of his deal, which is about $14.7 million more than Goff after adjusting for cap inflation.
In many ways, the Mahomes extension isn’t the mold-shattering contract that some expected it to be. Initial speculation that the future years of the deal would be tied to growth in the salary cap was apparently for naught. In terms of three-year cash flow (traditionally an important factor in any contract negotiation), Mahomes will actually make less than Wilson and only slightly more than Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers. But one area where the Mahomes deal is unique—along with the unprecedented length and dollar figure—is the payout schedule. This contract includes “guarantee mechanisms,” which are rolling guarantees that kick in on specified dates. This isn’t a new concept in the NFL, though typically those base salaries or roster bonuses vest only one year in advance, at the earliest. For instance, Carson Wentz’s 2022 salary and roster bonus become fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2022 league year. On that same day, Mahomes’s 2024 salary and roster bonus (about $37.4 million in total) will become guaranteed.
QB - Patrick Mahomes over Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert
The 2018 MVP and 2019 Super Bowl winner just signed a $503 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. I wouldn’t consider swapping Taylor or Herbert for Derek Carr or Drew Lock right now but Mahomes is an easy answer. Even with the new contract as only $63 million is fully guaranteed and Mahomes is worth any risk.
Do the Chargers have as many attractive weapons as Kansas City? Right now many people around the country would probably say “No” but Keenan Allen as compared to Tyreek Hill? Mike Williams as compared to Sammy Watkins? Hunter Henry as compared to Travis Kelce?
What would Mahomes do for the reputations of those players and his new offensive line? I could see this upgrade being worth enough wins to make LA a Super Bowl contender right away.
How does the Broncos defense matchup against the Chiefs offense?
Any game that features Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill is going to include some explosive plays downfield. In both games last season, Kelce totaled 17 receptions for 186 yards while Hill contributed 8 catches, 141 yards, and 3 touchdowns. After letting Chris Harris, Jr. walk in free agency, the Broncos added high-profile cornerback A.J. Bouye via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Denver also drafted Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia in an attempt to strengthen the secondary.
Despite the Broncos adding talent to boost the defense, the Chiefs offense features a variety of explosive playmakers that will make the Broncos job even more difficult in 2020. Second-year receiver Mecole Hardman projects to have a breakout season and the Chiefs gave their rushing offense a big boost when they selected LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The Chiefs didn’t necessarily lose any significant contributors on offense, so the Broncos defense must be prepared to counter the high-powered attack run by Mahomes and stellar head coach Andy Reid.
The voters were full of compliments for Kelce, but Kittle’s mentality, leadership and scheme flexibility proved to be the tie-breakers.
“Be on the field, and see how he elevates the play of everyone in the offense. It’s tangible,” one NFC coordinator said. “He lifts everyone up.”
“The passion on tape is unmatched,” an AFC executive explained. “He’s got that dog in him. More competitive than Kelce.”
4. AFC West
I wanted to get this division even higher on the list, but ultimately couldn’t justify it. Still, there’s a lot to like in what is fast becoming a division based around speed on offense.
The Chiefs have the fastest receiver corps in the league, with Hill and Hardman leading the way. Watkins is practically running in quicksand compared to those two, and he’s, ya know, still fast. Ruggs might be the fastest guy in the league now. Williams showed last year that he’s not equipped to be a No. 1 guy, but he’s a good deep threat who could provide space for guys like Renfrow and Darren Waller to work underneath.
Around the NFL
The Eagles released a statement Tuesday that said the team is “continuing to evaluate the circumstances.”
“We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts,” the statement read. “Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We are disappointed and we iterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow.”
“We don’t want to merely return to work and have the season shut down before we even get started,” Tretter wrote. “The NFLPA will do its part to advocate for player safety. We will continue to hold the NFL accountable and demand that the league use data, science and the recommendations of its own medical experts to make decisions. It has been clear for months that we need to find a way to fit football inside the world of coronavirus. Making decisions outside that lens is both dangerous and irresponsible.”
LaDainian Tomlinson, running back (San Diego Chargers, 2001-09; New York Jet, 2010-11): For me, it’s never winning a Super Bowl. I made five postseason appearances with the Chargers (hitting the AFC Championship in the 2007 season) and one with the Jets (again, to the conference title game), but our teams never made it to the Super Bowl. So many things have to go right to win a team championship, and injuries seemed to pop up at the wrong time. I realize that winning a title isn’t technically a decision, but it’s the one thing that eluded my football career.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Ability to develop receivers
The team has built their cabinet of pass-catching weapons by drafting and developing them; currently, the Chiefs’ only significant receiving contributor who wasn’t drafted by the team is wide receiver Sammy Watkins. In 2019, 72% of wide receiver and tight end snaps were taken by players who were drafted (or initially signed) by the Chiefs.
And the receivers the Chiefs draft share one trait: athleticism.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill didn’t even play that position in college, but his mind-blowing speed earned him a chance to transition to becoming a pass-catcher in Kansas City. Second-year receiver Mecole Hardman wasn’t known for much besides his speed in college. In 2016, wideout Demarcus Robinson was selected in the fourth round based on his athletic traits.
The credit for this belongs to wide receivers coach Greg Lewis — and with Lewis, Kansas City should feel comfortable continuing to take chances on athletic receivers. Since 2017, Lewis has helped turn Hill and Robinson from Day 3 draft picks into starting-caliber players. He has also done great work with undrafted free agent wideout Byron Pringle.
Counting star tight end Travis Kelce, the team’s wagers on athletic receivers have paid off so far. If they can continue to trust their ability to develop receiving weapons, they can limit the amount of capital they invest in those positions.
A tweet to make you think
24 reasons why Mahomes deserves that. 0 Doubts he will win more Super Bowls.— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) July 7, 2020
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