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Patrick Mahomes $200 million contract isn’t a matter of if but when

Two undefeated teams meet in Detroit as Patrick Mahomes and the fast Chiefs offense go up against the Detroit Lions.

Adam Schefter is re-reporting his own reports, although not really intentionally.

Schefter said today on ESPN that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes eventually will sign a contract worth $200 million. The observation, based on a five-year extension with an average value of $40 million per year, has created a bit of a stir.

But Schefter said the same thing in January. It’s fairly obvious, especially with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson now at $35 million per year in new money and Mahomes soon to be eligible for a new contract.

The real question regarding a $200-million-or-more Mahomes deal isn’t if but when. He becomes eligible for a new deal at the end of the season. As in at the end of the regular season. As in Mahomes can, if he so chooses, approach the Chiefs after Week 17 and before the playoffs and say, “Pay me.”

More accurately, Mahomes’ agents can be letting the team know now that they want the financial security that Mahomes has earned before the 2019 postseason begins, shifting the injury risk from player to team for the extra games Mahomes will be playing. Although no player would ever hold out of a playoff game (given the peanuts players make in the postseason relative to their usual pay, maybe one should consider it), it makes every bit of sense for Mahomes to ask for a new deal the first day he’s eligible for one.

When Chiefs owner Clark Hunt addressed the inevitable Mahomes contract at the league meetings in March, Hunt hinted at the possibility of doing it later not sooner, in order to take full advantage of the low cap charges that apply in the early years of a great quarterback’s career.

“It’s something we’ve begun to discuss, but really that’s a decision we’ll make down the road,” Hunt told PFT Live regarding the possibility of signing Mahomes to a new deal after his third regular season ends. “He had a tremendous year this year. We’re obviously eager to see him progress in Year Two as a starter. We’ll have a couple of chances here over the next couple years to extend him. And we’ll just have to figure out when the right time is to do that for the organization. Obviously, it has big salary cap impact. A lot has been made of the opportunuties you have with quarterbacks on rookie contracts. So we want to take full advantage of that. At the same time we’re hopeful to have Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City for a very long time.”

Mahomes is due to make $2.7 million in 2020, and the fifth-year option for 2021 (i.e., the quarterback transition tag for 2020) should be in the range of $24 million. Thus, a five-year, $200 million contract paid to Mahomes after 2019 would essentially be a seven-year, $226.7 million contract.

That’s a total value of $32.38 million per year at signing. Given Mahomes’ skills, that seems a little low.

The reality is this: The longer the Chiefs wait, the higher and higher it will go. Until that deal is done, however, Mahomes will carry the risk of an injury that may keep him from ever getting the payday he already has earned. That’s precisely why he and his agents need to get the Chiefs comfortable with the idea that the record-setting deal needs to be signed as soon as possible, and ideally on the Monday after the 2019 regular season ends.