Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has become the brightest young star in football, and he could be on the verge of pushing the financial limits of the sport as well. The Chiefs are expected to extend Mahomes’ contract after next season, the first time the MVP candidate is eligible for an extension, and he could land the NFL’s first $200 million contract, league sources told ESPN.
Issues will have to be addressed — some surrounding the collective bargaining agreement that would have only two seasons remaining, and some involving the two years that Mahomes would have left on his current contract, including the fifth-year option that Kansas City undoubtedly would exercise.
But when Mahomes likely reworks his contract over a year from now, it is expected to be a record-breaking deal, dwarfing the one that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers signed last summer that pays him an annual average of $33.5 million.
Other big deals could get signed this offseason; the Eagles could approach quarterback Carson Wentz about re-signing, and the Rams could do the same with quarterback Jared Goff. But there are no assurances that either deal will get done, nor be as high as the one that Mahomes would be looking to sign in 2020.
Because Mahomes has showed great talent and the salary cap rises each year, sources believe that his deal will top $200 million in total, making him the first NFL player to reach such lofty financial heights. Of course, what will be more important to Mahomes and the Chiefs will be how the deal is structured and how much money is guaranteed.
Mahomes also is expected to become more visible this offseason, a year before he signs any record deal. During his first two years in the league, his agent, Leigh Steinberg, intentionally persuaded Mahomes to avoid being too visible before he had accomplished more on the football field.
“He’s a fresh face,” Steinberg told ESPN this weekend. “By holding him back, we haven’t overexposed him.” Mahomes is about to be marketed in a way he wasn’t during the first two years in the league, with marketing deals and television commercials, according to Steinberg. His visibility will rise tremendously this offseason, a similar strategy to the one Steinberg successfully deployed in the 1990s with both Troy Aikman and Steve Young.
Mahomes, 23, passed for 5,097 yards and a league-leading 50 touchdowns — tied for the second-highest single-season total in league history — while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs in his first full year as a starter. Mahomes and the Chiefs host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game.