Is Patrick Mahomes overrated
Patrick Mahomes and the 500 Million Deal: The Background
Keeping a player on a team for over ten years is a huge risk for NFL franchises. This is shown by the last two cases in which quarterbacks signed such a long contract: The Minnesota Vikings tied their then playmaker Daunte Culpepper for ten years in 2003 - he was seriously injured in 2005 and then stopped playing for the team. In 2004 the Atlanta Falcons gave Michael Vick a ten-year contract - in 2007 he was jailed for involvement in illegal dog fights.
With this story, it's no wonder that it took around 16 years before a team was ready for such an investment again, which was not uncommon in the early 2000s. The Chiefs have put a lot of trust and money into their star quarterback, who led the team to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years of waiting in February. It was expected that the team would make Mahomes the best-paid player in league history with the upcoming contract extension. But the method was surprising - and it continues to surprise two days after the announcement.
No "percent clause", but "rolling guarantees"
In view of the long term, numerous NFL experts had expected that the contract would contain a clause that guarantees Mahomes a certain percentage of the salary cap. Background: The salary cap increases every year in the NFL, so that the contracts become more and more expensive. If a player signs for a long time, he is rather poorly paid towards the end of his contract - at least proportionally. For example, when he signed a five-year contract in 2017, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was promoted to the highest-paid player in NFL history, but now he is only 13th and thus in the midfield among quarterbacks.
For Mahomes, a "percentage clause" would have been an advantage in order to still be among the top earners in the league towards the end of his long contract. It would have been a novelty that might have set a precedent. Would. Because the franchise and players have now apparently agreed on a different model. As NFL insider Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday, Mahomes instead receives a large "roster bonus" every year - simply for being part of the team. In 2021 this bonus will amount to around 22 million US dollars, and in 2027 even almost 50 million US dollars. In total, these so-called "rolling guarantees" make up over 337 million of the total volume - and thus more than the base salary.
This model is not as groundbreaking as a possible "percentage clause"; it has already been used in the past - albeit never for such a long period of time. Now the "rolling guarantees" are likely to become even more prominent - and with them a return to the exorbitantly long contract terms.
Why Watson benefits - and the cowboys are under pressure
One of the beneficiaries of the Mahomes deal: Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The 24-year-old playmaker was drawn like Mahomes in the 2017 draft, then, like Mahomes, had convinced - and like Mahomes, until recently, he has a contract valid until 2022. Watson is next - and his negotiating position has been strengthened by Mahomes' mega-contract. When teammate Dylan Cole confronted him on Twitter, Watson only replied with a picture of himself as a child - with a big grin on his cheeks. Watson knows that he, too, will cash in on it now.
One of the losers in the Mahomes deal could be those in charge of the Dallas Cowboys. Because "America's Team" has been in contract negotiations with its quarterback Dak Prescott for a long time - and could now have speculated. After Mahomes' extension, Prescott can now ask for significantly more money and perhaps a longer term. The cowboys, who had already hesitated to pay Prescott in 2019, are now likely to find themselves in a dilemma: Either they equip their playmaker with a contract that, in their view, may be too high, or Prescott will play under Franchise Day in 2020 - a constellation that is part of the deal Quarterbacks have rarely been beneficial in the past.
There is not much time left for a decision: the deadline for an early extension already expires on July 15th. So maybe by then the NFL will see the next mega-deal.
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