The preliminary Patrick Mahomes contract details

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The numbers on any given contract don’t become official under the actual contract can be inspected and analyzed. For now, here’s the breakdown of the Patrick Mahomes contract that is making the rounds.

It’s a twelve-year deal with a base value of $477.631 million. It averages, at signing, $39.8 million per year.

The deal includes a fairly paltry, given the supposed magnitude of the deal, signing bonus of $10 million. The cash breakdown, regardless of guarantees or “guarantee mechanisms” (whatever those are), is as follows:

  1. In 2020: $10.825 million.
  2. In 2021: $22.8 million (base salary of $990,000, roster bonus of $21.7 million, and workout bonus of $100,000 in 2021).
  3. In 2022: $29.45 million (base salary of $1.5 million, roster bonus of $27.4 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2022).
  4. In 2023: $40.45 million (base salary of $5.5 million, roster bonus of $34.4 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2023).
  5. In 2024: $37.95 million (base salary of $2.5 million, roster bonus of $34.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2024).
  6. In 2025: $41.95 million (base salary of $2.5 million, roster bonus of $38.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2025).
  7. In 2026: $41.95 million (base salary of $2.5 million, roster bonus of $38.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2026).
  8. In 2027: $59.95 million (base salary of $10 million, roster bonus of $49.4 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2027).
  9. In 2028: $44.45 million (base salary of $13 million, roster bonus of $30.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2028).
  10. In 2029: $44.95 million (base salary of $20.5 million, roster bonus of $23.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2029).
  11. In 2030: $50.45 million (base salary of $27 million, roster bonus of $22.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2030).
  12. In 2031: $52.45 million (base salary of $38 million, roster bonus of $13.9 million, and workout bonus of $550,000 in 2028).

The deal also includes up to $2.5 million in unspecified incentives per year from 2022 through 2031, resulting in another $25 million that can be earned, pushing the maximum possible value of the twelve-year deal to $502.631 million.

In the first two years, Mahomes will earn $33.361 million. Through the first three years, Mahomes will earn $63.08 million. Through the first four years, Mahomes will earn $103.53 million. By way of comparison, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will earn $118 million over the next four years — and he won’t be tied to his team for another eight seasons.

Given that Mahomes already was due to earn $27.63 million over the next two years, it’s a 10-year, $450 million extension. That’s $45 million per year in new money. While that pushes the market up by $10 million per year, it ties Mahomes to the Chiefs for the next 12 years, and during that time the market likely will catch and surpass the Mahomes numbers. Although it’s easy to say “the Chiefs will take care of him,” they’re not required to do anything than what the current contract requires them to do for the next 12 years.

With, per multiple reports, only $63 million fully guaranteed at signing, it’s a pay-as-you-go deal for the Chiefs, who surely will want to keep Mahomes for the next 12 years, especially as the market and salary cap grow and the deal looks more and more like a steal for the Chiefs, if Mahomes keeps playing like he has for his first two years as a starter.

It’s a no-lose proposition for the Chiefs, tying Mahomes to the team for a dozen seasons but giving the team flexibility to move on, if for whatever reason Mahomes at some point isn’t the guy he currently is.

Bottom line? In his agents’ apparent zeal to claim that they negotiated the first half-billion-dollar deal in league history, plenty of meat was left on the bone. Mahomes didn’t need to commit for a dozen years, and he could have pushed hard for greater protection against inflation of the salary cap and the quarterback market — like a set percentage of the salary cap.

If they didn’t want to give him a percentage of the cap, he could have played it out; Mahomes has enough endorsement money and (as the 10th pick in the 2017 draft) will have enough football money to get by, if for some reason he loses his fastball in the next couple of years. Instead, he swapped $27.63 million over the next two years plus the chance to play the year-to-year franchise-tag game for $63 million fully guaranteed at signing, and a one-year-at-a-time arrangement, with the team (not Mahomes) making the one-year-at-a-time decision.

As one league source observed, “It’s like he had no leverage.”

Again, the deal definitely sets the bar to a level higher than it’s ever been. But the truth is that, if Mahomes keeps playing like he has so far, he’ll be underpaid sooner than later. And if for some reason he slips over the next few years, he’ll be out on his ear without nearly the kind of protection that he should have gotten in returning for committing to the team for a dozen years.