The Kansas City Chiefs made quarterback Patrick Mahomes the highest paid NFL player ever in 2020 with a historic $500 million contract. Two years later, it appears the franchise is prepared to adjust the deal in response to recent trends around the league.
Eyebrows were raised before the 2020 NFL season when Mahomes signed a 10-year extension with Kansas City. While it made him the highest paid quarterback ever, many wondered if signing a deal that would keep him under team control for more than a decade was a good idea.
- Patrick Mahomes stats (2021): 4,839 passing yards, 37-13 TD-INT, 98.5 QB rating, 12-5 record
Mahomes signed the deal as the NFL braced for the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the league rebounded immediately and is once again enjoying record-setting revenue. With the salary cap projected to explode in the years away, contracts for the highest-paid NFL players are climbing.
While Mahomes still has the highest contract value in NFL history, he now ranks behind Aaron Rodgers ($50.271 million) and Kyler Murray ($46.1 million) in average annual value. He also lags far behind Deshaun Watson ($230 million) in total guaranteed.
- Patrick Mahomes contract: $35,793 million cap hit (2022), $46.793 million cap hit (2023), free agent in 2032
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Considering the existing deal takes Mahomes through his age-36 season, the Chiefs don’t need to feel pressured to change anything. Furthermore, their franchise quarterback isn’t applying any pressure for his deal to be adjusted. However, that doesn’t mean changes won’t happen.
According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs are expected to ‘sweeten’ the existing contract ‘sooner than later’. When the move is made, the adjusted agreement will help Mahomes reclaim his status as one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in football.
The most realistic change that would be made is moving up money owed towards the end of the contract into upcoming seasons. Mahomes is owed a $38.9 million roster bonus at the start of the league year in 2025 and 2026, with a $49.4 million roster bonus in 2027. Kansas City could move money around, as they did for Travis Kelce.
If that happens, it wouldn’t prevent the team from adjusting the contract in another five years. With the NFL generating even more revenue every year and the financial outlook for the league more promising than ever before, it stands to reason there will be multiple quarterbacks making $50-plus million in AAV by 2025.