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Chiefs should use Davante Adams’ contract as a model for Tyreek Hill’s

Upon further examination, Thursday’s record-setting contract should have minimal impact on Hill’s extension.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

A blockbuster trade saw the Green Bay Packers trade franchise-tagged wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday. Adams, widely considered the league’s best wide receiver, signed a new contract with the Raiders worth $140 million over five seasons. It is believed to be the highest-ever average annual value for a non-quarterback contract.

The trade immediately caused panic among followers of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders — a division foe coming off of a surprise playoff run — added one of the league’s best players into the mix of major moves that the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have also made to bolster their rosters. On paper, the 2022 AFC West appears poised to be the strongest division in league history.

But a second concern for Chiefs fans involves a receiver of their own. For weeks, star receiver Tyreek Hill — entering the last year of his contract in 2022 — has been rumored to be on the verge of signing a long-term contract extension. Such an agreement would ensure he remains in Kansas City through the prime of his career and lowers his existing $22 million cap number.

After the Adams news broke, a narrative has been forming that a Hill extension is significantly less likely — or will cost significantly more. More extreme takes have suggested that Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has failed by not having an extension finalized while Adams was still a Packer.

But as more details about Adams’ record-breaking contract become known, it looks less likely to alter what Hill can realistically demand from the Chiefs. Per Spotrac, Adams’ compensation is heavily backloaded with excessive future base salaries that the Raiders probably have no intention of paying.

Adams is scheduled to count $40 million against the cap for the 2025 and 2026 seasons — at which time he will be 33 and 34 years old. While his precise route running tends to age well, it is very unlikely he will ever see the non-guaranteed $35.6 million base salaries that are part of those cap hits. Those years under contract likely exist only to spread out his $19.25 million signing bonus.

Effectively, the real money Adams will see is $67.5 million over three seasons. His earnings for the 2022-2024 seasons average $22.5 million per season — a number relatively in line with those rumored to be under consideration in a new Hill contract.

In the end, Adams’ contract will likely have minimal impact on the Chiefs’ negotiations with Hill. If topping his new division rival in per year average salary matters to him, the Chiefs can easily inflate the back of Hill’s deal with imaginary money. But it’s more likely he’ll sign a more typical contract with a yearly average in line with Adams’ next three seasons — as he probably did all along.

Still, Hill may top Adams in guaranteed money. Adams’ contract has $22.75 million guaranteed at signing. Barring an unexpectedly rapid decline in play (or his off-field situation), $42.9 million more will lock in at the start of the 2023 league year — bolstered by a $20.5 million roster bonus already guaranteed for injury.

Expect Hill to pass on the opportunity to match Adams in yearly average but receive a larger amount of his contract guaranteed at signing. And it remains likely that Hill will see the benefit of signing an extension this offseason, rather than risking major injury playing for his next contract.

This week’s extension for Carolina Panthers receiver D.J. Moore — negotiated by Hill’s agent Drew Rosenhaus — will likely have a bigger impact on talks with the Chiefs. Like Hill, Moore was entering the last year of his existing contract. He appears to have signed a three-year extension keeping him in Carolina through 2025. The signing is believed to have converted much of his previous salary into a signing bonus to lower his 2022 cap number.

When further details of Moore’s deal are known, it will likely give us a preview of how Hill’s eventual agreement could be structured — although the total earnings will be different.

Despite the past week’s lightning-fast news cycle, Hill should still be expected to soon sign a highly-lucrative contract to keep him in red and gold for the foreseeable future.

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