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By Michael Aleksandrov – Summer Staff Writer
Before the late hours of July 6th, 2020, Patrick Mahomes had already broken the NFL. The Texas Tech product exhibited a video game-like ability to fling sidearm, no-look passes and 70-yard bombs on the run. His play led the number one offense to a Super Bowl win and awarded Mahomes with the 2019 MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP.
Then, Mahomes broke sports. He inked a 10-year, $503 million deal- the richest contract ever. The contract was so massive it even shocked some of the world’s highest-paid athletes. While the massive check has direct implications for Kansas City, who look to build a dynasty over the next decade, it also will forever change the landscape of both sports and the value of NFL QB’s….
What it means for Sports:
In 1972, NHL player Bobby Hull signed a ten-year, million-dollar contract- the first of its kind. This created a slippery slope that saw Michael Jordan sign a $30 million a year contract in 1996. Then Donovan McNabb’s 10-year contract. Now, the Mahomes mega-deal. Who will the next Mahomes be in other sports? Players like Aaron Judge in the MLB, young talent like Luka Doncic or Trae Young in the NBA, NHL stars like Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid, or Lionel Messi, whose contract is slated to expire in 2021?
The effects of the Mahomes deal won’t take long to see when these players are seeking extensions. Mahomes’ deal in 5 years will not be the largest in sports- somebody will surpass him. What is clear is that money in sports will never be the same.
What it Means for NFL QB’s:
There are two main QB’s seeking deals right now: Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson. Both quarterbacks are crucial to their team’s success (or lack thereof). Both QB’s want big extensions- Dak turned down a generous $30 million earlier this year. I don’t think either QB is at the level Mahomes is at right now.
However, they are just as essential to their teams as Mahomes is- there are no capable players to replace them. Do QB’s that might not necessarily have the accomplishments of Mahomes still carry that same cash value? What is clear is that Texans and Cowboys will have to bring a Texas-sized offer to the table if they want to keep their stars.
If the Cowboys and Texans aren’t willing to pay their QB’s that money, a team like the Chicago Bears might gladly give Dak or Deshaun a $40 million dollar deal. This is not only out of desperation but because the Mahomes contract may make that amount of money look relatively small.
The 2020 MVP Lamar Jackson may even get a bigger contract than Mahomes due to how he compares- Jackson’s resume is one Super Bowl away from equaling Mahomes. Jackson fits the Baltimore system perfectly and the team has believed in him since day 1. Could we see him get $55 million?
The Mahomes contract could go two ways in how it affects veteran QB’s. The second-highest-paid QB in the league is Russell Wilson at a cool $35 million. He’s a top-3 quarterback. He is also 31. His contract is slated to end when he is a year younger than what Mahomes will be in 2031. It is true that the majority of the higher-paid QB’s in the league are older. That is because they have established themselves as elite, consistent winners. Consider more middle-of-the-pack, starting-caliber vets.
A perfect example is Cam Newton, who won the MVP in 2015. Newton has to prove himself once again as a consistent, healthy QB. If Newton, 29, has a comeback season on the Pats, he will draw much interest in the free agency market. Will Newton’s value be held back by the fact that healthy and young QBs are getting at or near Mahomes? Or will the value of Newton and other QB’s be overinflated by the fact that Mahomes’ contract is so massive? Only time will tell.
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