The Patrick Mahomes contract, a stunning 10-year extension reportedly worth more than $400 million in new money, raises more questions than it answers. Let’s start exploring what needs to be known in order to properly value the deal.
First, what’s the signing bonus? That’s the only sure thing in any of the deals.
Second, how much is fully guaranteed at signing, and how many years does it cover? After the fully-guaranteed payments expire, every contract becomes a one-way deal, with the team holding an annual option to continue the relationship. Put simply, at that point the player is tied to the team but the team isn’t tied to the player.
Third, does the contract guarantee Mahomes a percentage of the salary cap? Some in league circles believe that the deal only makes sense for Mahomes if he secured that kind of protection against the hard dollars being rendered obsolete by the growth of the cap and the ongoing evolution of the quarterback market. Really, there’s no reason for Mahomes to commit to that long of a stay without that kind of financial protection.
Fourth, is it a true 10-year extension? Plenty of deals have dummy years on the back end that become automatically voided. Those details are hidden at first, in order to give the deal maximum impact when the news initially breaks. A prime example of this includes the 2011 Mike Vick extension in Philadelphia. The supposed six-year, $100 million contract looked good on paper, but it had a final year that definitely was going to evaporate before the sixth year ever happened, making it in reality a far less impressive five-year, $80 million deal.
Thus, like every other long-term deal, the devil lurks in the details. For Mahomes’ sake, here’s hoping the details include a guaranteed cap percentage and/or a couple of years on the back end that automatically will void.