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At just 24 years old, Mahomes can become the youngest player in NFL history to win both a Most Valuable Player award and a Super Bowl title. Despite a growing list of on-field accomplishments, Mahomes remains one of the great discounts among NFL stars, earning just $2.7 million in cash in 2019 while playing on his rookie contract.
Any discount on Mahomes’ services will disappear following the 2021 NFL season, when the fifth-year option on his rookie contract expires. The Chiefs star is widely expected to sign a deal worth $200 million, or $40 million per year – an unprecedented sum in NFL history.
“He’s going to set the bar,” Mike Lombardi, a former NFL general manager and co-host of The Ringer’s “GM Shuffle” podcast, told FOX Business. “I could see the deal being huge, being $160 million, $200 million for five years, with 65 percent guaranteed. I think those would be realistic numbers to look at for the best quarterback in football.”
Aside from massive on-field production, including a 50-touchdown season with the Chiefs in 2018, Mahomes possesses traits prized for the prospective face of an NFL franchise. He already ranks among the league’s most marketable players and has signed endorsement deals with several companies, including Oakley eyewear, State Farm and Bose electronics. The Chiefs won at least 12 games in each of his first two seasons as starter.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson set a new benchmark for high-end NFL contracts last fall, signing a four-year, $140 million extension with a record-setting $35 million average annual value and $107 million in practical guarantees.
With a five-year, $200 million contract, Mahomes would earn an average annual salary of $40 million, with $130 million in guaranteed money.
"I've said before that I hope Patrick is here for his entire career and that’s going to be our goal," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said during Super Bowl media week. "But there will be a right time, sometime in the next 12-15 months to extend Patrick and when I say right time, I mean right time for both, the player and the club. I don't want to say it has to necessarily be this offseason but I will say it’s a priority to get it done."
Mahomes is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Chiefs by as soon as this offseason but is likely at least two seasons away from free agency.
The NFL's expiring collective-bargaining agreement, which ends after the 2021 season, represents another obstacle to a potential deal. Without firm guidelines on the labor deal, such as whether the NFL regular season will expand to 17 games, negotiations on future contracts are difficult to navigate.
"I think it would be prudent to [wait for a new labor deal]," Lombardi said. "You don't know what you're embarking on."
Mahomes can secure another bargaining chip with a win against the San Francisco 49ers at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.