by Danny Karpin
In case you missed it, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs won the most recent Super Bowl played back in February. (in a pre-covid sports world) Mahomes and the Chiefs stormed back against the San Francisco 49ers, after falling down early, for a thrilling victory.
Mahomes was named MVP, Andy Reid got his elusive SB win and that’s how the story ends. Except it doesn’t. The Chiefs must’ve known this was coming or at least had it in the back of their minds once this kid starting playing out of his mind a little while back.
Mahomes played only one game in his first year in the league, in fact a lot of teams we’re baffled the Chiefs took him with their first round pick. They clearly knew something the rest of us didn’t. It wasn’t even supposed to be a “deep QB draft” and they even traded multiple picks to get him (including the following year’s 1st round pick)
Imagine how sold they were on the kid. They gambled away the following year’s first round pick because they KNEW this guy was gonna be amazing. Fast forward to today and that gamble has paid off in spades, for both Mahomes and the Chiefs. Just look at the contract they just handed him.
With two years still remaining on his contract, the Chiefs signed Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year deal. TEN YEARS! The money is jaw dropping enough, (more on that later) imagine committing to a lengthy deal like that. Mahomes is likely going be at the helm for at least the next 7-8 years. Mahomes could even be their starting QB for the next 10.
And you know what? To those outside of Kansas City, this kind of deal seems egregious and insane, but they clearly believed they had to do it. And from some angles, it’s probably the smartest move they could have made with him right now.
Let’s look at the facts. In only his second year in the league, Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns. That’s right, FIFTY! It was pretty clear from when they let him loose that he was playing chess, while the rest of the league was playing checkers. He only played one game in his rookie year so that lessens his wear and tear. There is a lot to like here if you’re a Chiefs fan. This guy is going to be one of the premiere players in the league for easily the next decade.
So what do you do? You lock him up in your team’s colors, and you make sure nobody else even has a shot at stealing him away from you. You’re set up with your team’s quarterback position very nicely over the next decade, that you can ignore it in the draft for a long time to come. Ignoring the QB position in the draft is what many teams have done for so long and it’s only driven them deeper into the cellar of the NFL. The Chiefs will be able to really focus on other aspects of their team with the draft and free agency because the most important position in the game is going to be stable for them for a long, long time.
The bottom line is this: Players of his caliber only come along once in your franchise’s lifetime! The Lakers knew what they had in Magic Johnson after only one year, look at the contract they offered him. In 1988, after Michael Jordan had won his first of his many MVPs, the Bulls signed him to an 8-year deal. Clearly when you have a player like this, the contract you offer becomes one of the easiest decisions. It’s difficult, or one could even say it’s almost impossible to locate players on this level and when you have one, it’s ludicrous to let them go anywhere else.
There are amazing players, there are phenomenal players and then there are transcendent players who are so rare that they warrant deals like this. Patrick Mahomes is without a doubt one of those players. Could he regress and play badly over the next few years, sure. Is it likely to happen, probably not, but of course they’ll be concerned with his overall health as he gravitates through the length of the contract.
Also consider this. If they had signed him to a 5-7 year deal, only to have to go into a bidding war with other teams in 2025-27, the next contract they’d have to give him would be more expensive than what he will be making annually though this one. They’ve spent money now to save a lot of money later. It’s very similar to the draft strategy they used to get him. Give up a first rounder now to get a future transcendent player.
It doesn’t always work out, but in this case it did and the Chiefs are intelligent for doubling down on it.
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