Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year contract worth up to $503 million — with $477M in ‘guarantee mechanisms’ — sent social media nerds into a frenzy over the length of the contract and the huge number of years associated with such a contract. This is where I remind you that Patrick Mahomes will be 35 at the end of that contract. Aaron Rodgers is currently 36; Drew Brees is 41; Ben Roethlisberger is 38.
So why are you acting so shocked over such an investment by the Chiefs? You shouldn’t be. I’m not a cap or NFL contract expert, but even I know the Chiefs just set the basement level for Super Bowl MVP/League MVP quarterbacks for at least the next 6-7 years. We all know this contract will be renegotiated at some point down the road so there’s no reason to worry about $503 million or the 10 years. Look at it like this: Patrick Mahomes is going to be slinging it for the Chiefs, pending some sort of catastrophic issue — over the next decade and likely longer.
Here's a breakdown of the cash flow on Patrick Mahomes' new contract with the #Chiefs. It'll take more than one tweet to fully explain, but the bonuses have varying vesting dates that paint a fuller picture of how the deal works. pic.twitter.com/LepwqYMT0K
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 6, 2020
Rolling guarantees are common in NFL contracts, but never over the entire life of a 10-year extension (12-year deal). Patrick Mahomes gets over $63 million fully guaranteed at signing and $103M by next March. Most of the salaries and bonuses vest a year or two before they’re due. pic.twitter.com/az8jsKBZgN
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 7, 2020
As for this whole 10-year contract thing and its history in the NFL, there’s precedent here to analyze.
- Donovan McNabb: 12-year deal with the Eagles in 2002, maximum value of $115 million
- Brett Favre: “lifetime contract” in 2001 with the Packers that came out to a 10-year, $100 million deal with the Packers in 2001
- Drew Bledsoe: 10-year, $103 million deal with the Patriots in 2001
- Michael Vick: 10-year, $130 million contract extension with the Falcons in 2004
- Daunte Culpepper: signed a 10-year, $102 million contract extension with the Vikings in 2003 that included $16 million in guarantees
McNabb lasted eight years in Philadelphia after signing his massive contract. Favre spent seven years in Green Bay after signing his deal. I think we all know what happened to Drew Bledsoe after he signed in 2001. Michael Vick lasted two years on the contract he signed at the end of 2004 before going to prison. Culpepper spent three years in Minnesota on his massive contract before fully flaming out in 2005 and leaving for Miami. He would win three games from 2006-09.
Not a great track record for 10-year deals, right? Ah, but now defensive players aren’t allowed to hit quarterbacks and it’s only going to get worse as teams keep backing up Brinks trucks for their quarterbacks. The NFL is headed for a TV contract negotiation in 2022 and you better believe the number is going to be shocking. CNBC says the contract just for Sunday afternoon games could double from $1 billion to $2 billion. We could have Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google all bidding against each other along with the networks. The money flying around is going to make a Super Bowl strip club blush.
So be shocked for a couple days and then shake it off. This shall pass and one day you’ll really be shocked when a guy signs a contract worth a billion. It should take about another 10 years to get there.