Reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson are two of the faces of the quarterback position in the league today.
Both have had a ton of individual success while leading their teams to consistent contention since being first-round picks.
With that said, Mahomes’ situation with Kansas City is much different than what we’re seeing between Jackson and his Ravens.
Now a two-time league MVP, Mahomes signed a record-breaking 10-year, $450 million contract with Kansas City back in July of 2020. Jackson? Well, he continues to be mired in a public spat with Baltimore regarding long-term contract talks. In fact, Jackson had the dreaded franchise tag placed on him earlier in the month. He’s currently at odds with Baltimore, leading to speculation that an ugly divorce could soon be in the cards.
Speaking about the Jackson contract situation and the broader backdrop of quarterback pay in today’s NFL, future Hall of Famer cornerback Richard Sherman actually found a way to blame Mahomes.
“When Kirk Cousins got his guaranteed deal, I thought quarterbacks from then on were gonna be like ‘if it ain’t guaranteed, I ain’t taking it. Then Patrick Mahomes took that BS deal, 10 years and wanted it to like half a billion. When he didn’t set it, then Josh Allen didn’t set it.”Richard Sherman on Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes dynamic
There’s certainly a lot going on here. First off, Kirk Cousins has taken a completely different approach compared to other quarterbacks around the league. He’s relied on a series of short-term contracts since initially signing with the Minnesota Vikings. That included a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract back in 2018. He’s the complete antithesis of Mahomes committing to the Chiefs for a full decade.
If you have been following the Jackson situation, you know full well that guaranteed money has been the biggest detriment to getting a deal done with Baltimore. Reports have indicated that he is demanding a fully guaranteed deal. Meanwhile, Jackson’s camp has pushed back against that.
Related: Everything you need to know about the Lamar Jackson situation
Richard Sherman misses the mark talking Lamar Jackson contract situation
Realistically, Sherman should be blaming the Cleveland Browns and Deshaun Watson for making this a thing.
Shockingly, Cleveland inked the embattled quarterback to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract after acquiring him in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans last spring.
NFL teams, owners and front office personnel were put off by this. Not only did this come after Watson settled out of court with north of 20 women claiming sexual misconduct on his part, a fully guaranteed $230 million contract was so out of bounds in comparison to other top-end signal callers.
Let’s look at Mahomes’ contract from back in 2020 as an example. He received just $63.08 million guaranteed at signing. As the quarterback market continued to play out in the years following that record-breaking deal, it seemed to be a bargain from Kansas City’s perspective.
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NFL quarterback contracts (fully guaranteed cash)
- Deshaun Watson: $230 million
- Russell Wilson: $124 million
- Kyler Murray: $103.3 million
- Aaron Rodgers: $101.52 million
- Josh Allen: $100.04 million
- Dak Prescott: $95 million
- Daniel Jones: $81 million
- Patrick Mahomes: $63.08 million
What do all of these other contracts have in common? They were signed after Mahomes inked his deal with Kansas City. This is more indicative of the ever-evolving quarterback market than anything else.
Related: Highest paid NFL quarterbacks of 2023
The reality of the Lamar Jackson situation
We could be talking semantics when it comes to Baltimore leaking that Jackson wants a fully guaranteed deal and the quarterback’s camp pushing back. It’s possible that the former NFL MVP wants to add a void year to the back end of any extension to make the deal look like it’s not fully guaranteed.
Either way, it’s not as simple as blaming Mahomes or Josh Allen. There are too many layers to this, including the quarterback not being represented by a certified agent. Baltimore’s unwillingness to up its most-recent offer to Jackson as well as other recent quarterback contracts are two other elements to this.
At the end of the day, Jackson has set a value for himself in terms of guarantees. The Raven have their own value set for him. Unless one side blinks, this process could lead to an ugly divorce as the NFL offseason plays out. Placing blame on other quarterbacks does nothing to change this dynamic.
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