The Kansas City Chiefs, who wandered aimlessly for so many years without a long-term plan at football's most important position, know how to take care of a franchise quarterback now that they finally have one.
They agreed to terms of a 10-year contract extension with Patrick Mahomes that, combined with the two seasons remaining on Mahomes' existing deal, keeps him with the Chiefs through the 2031 season. Mahomes will be paid up to $503 million over the 10 additional seasons, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It includes $477 million in guarantee mechanisms.
The 10-year contract for Mahomes isn't the NFL's longest extension. The Eagles once gave quarterback Donovan McNabb a 12-year extension. Brett Favre, Michael Vick and Drew Bledsoe at various points in their respective careers received 10-year extensions.
But if the Mahomes extension isn't the longest, it well may be the smartest. If there was ever a player to tie a future to, Mahomes is it. He's just 24 years old and health willing, he could still be a premier player when the new contract is finished.
"This is a significant moment for our franchise and for the Chiefs Kingdom," team CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. "Since he joined the Chiefs just a few years ago, Patrick has developed into one of the most prolific athletes in all of sports. With his dynamic play and infectious personality, he is one of the most recognized and beloved figures to put on the Chiefs uniform."
It's difficult to imagine there's not at least a Super Bowl or two in there for Mahomes and the Chiefs. Such has been his impact in two seasons as their starting quarterback. Mahomes, the Chiefs' first-round pick in 2017, has been one of the NFL's all-time great values playing under the rookie contract he signed shortly after being drafted. The Chiefs paid him in three years a total of about $11.2 million, including his rookie season, when he was a backup to Alex Smith.
For that, Mahomes delivered an NFL MVP award and the league's second-ever 50 touchdown-50,000-yard season in 2018 and the Chiefs' first Super Bowl championship in 50 years in 2019. Over his two seasons as a starter, the Chiefs paid Mahomes $42,000 per touchdown pass, the lowest among 28 quarterbacks to throw at least 25 touchdowns in that span.
Mahomes will no longer be that kind of bargain, but is there any reason to believe that even as the NFL's highest-paid player, the Chiefs won't still get plenty of value from him? His career is already on a trajectory that will make him one of the NFL's greats. He is averaging 38 touchdown passes over his two seasons as the starter. Based on that average, Mahomes would have 532 TD throws when his new contract expires.
Only Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning currently have more. Thirty-eight touchdown passes a season is ambitious for anyone but doesn't sound outrageous for Mahomes as long as he's partnered with coach Andy Reid. The two have been good for each other, and the Mahomes contract extension ensures he will take the 62-year-old Reid to the end of his coaching career.
"I've had the privilege of coaching a lot of incredible athletes and special people in my career, and Patrick is without question on that list of players," Reid said in a statement. "The best part is he's still early in his career. He's a natural leader and always grinding, whether that's on the field, in the weight room or watching film, he wants to be the best. He's a competitor and his teammates feed off his energy. He makes us all better as an organization and we are blessed he's going to be our quarterback for years to come."
So the Chiefs can feel good about their decision to make Mahomes the richest player in NFL history, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and can now turn their financial attention to defensive tackle Chris Jones. They had thrashed around with journeymen quarterbacks for so much of their history. With this move on Mahomes, they've avoided that type of purgatory again for at least the next 12 years.