Three-year cash flow for quarterbacks reveals how badly Patrick Mahomes needs a new deal
Chiefs G.M. Brett Veach recently said that, after Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert do new deals, the Chiefs will take another look at the contract signed three NFL seasons ago.
They frankly shouldn’t have to wait that long.
The Mahomes deal was grossly team-friendly from the get go. Someone apparently wanted to be able to claim that Mahomes had signed the first half-billion-dollar deal in league history. To get there, other things were sacrificed.
Specifically, early-year cash flow was sacrificed.
With the Jalen Hurts contract signed and finalized, and with the numbers now available to be scrutinized, the major quarterback contracts can be compared as to one of the key factors for evaluating contracts -- the amount of money actually paid to the player in the first three years of the contract.
Per a source with knowledge of the numbers, here’s the three-year cash flow for the current high-end quarterback deals:
1. Aaron Rodgers: $150.8 million.
2. Deshaun Watson: $138 million.
3. Dak Prescott: $126 million.
4. Matthew Stafford: $120 million.
5. Russell Wilson: $119 million.
6. Daniel Jones: $112.5 million.
7. Kyler Murray: $107.8 million.
8. Jalen Hurts: $106.3 million.
9. Josh Allen: $92.3 million.
10. Patrick Mahomes: $63 million.
Take a look at those numbers. Look at the names. With all due respect to the others, Mahomes should be at the very top of the list.
Whatever Burrow or Herbert will get doesn’t change that. It’ll only make it more conspicuous, because it likely will drop Mahomes to No. 12. If/when Lamar Jackson gets a deal with the Ravens, Mahomes will fall to No. 13.
Yes, Mahomes has every right to take whatever contract he wants. And, yes, he continues to have a great team around him, given the money he’s not taking. But to be tenth out of 10 and likely on his way to No. 12 or No. 13 of 12 or 13 on the list of quarterback cash flow, the Chiefs probably should fix this, regardless of whether Mahomes is banging on anyone’s door to make it happen.
The problem for Mahomes is that he’s signed into the next decade. He’s at the mercy of whatever the Chiefs choose to do. And he’s surely not willing to complain about his contract, because it will highlight the fact that he did a team-friendly deal that was far too team friendly.
I’m a huge Mahomes fan. He’s a generational player. A transformational talent. I didn’t like criticizing the deal when it was done, and I don’t like criticizing it now.
But the deal is what it is. The cash flow is in clear, undeniable dollars.
He’ll eventually get more, there’s no doubt about it. Still, he’s currently not getting nearly enough. And if (as it appears) he’s fine with it, it makes him even more of a rare talent, whose overabundance of skill, unique motivation and determination, and rare leadership abilities have combined with a degree of selflessness that parallels the height of Tom Brady’s habit of always taking far less from the Patriots than he deserved.
But, remember, the salary cap keeps going up and up and up. The money keeps going up and up and up. The market at the position keeps going up and up and up. If anyone deserves to be the player getting more money than anyone else in the league, it’s Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs surely know it. Maybe Mahomes knows it, too. The challenge for the team is to fix it before Mahomes becomes resentful, before he starts to believe he’s getting ripped off.
He hasn’t gotten there yet. The Chiefs need to address the situation before he does.
It shouldn’t take Burrow and Herbert to do new contracts to make it happen, not after what we all saw Mahomes do in the 2022 regular season, and then during the playoffs -- when he willed the Chiefs to another championship despite having an ankle injury that, more than two months later, still hasn’t healed. Based on the numbers listed above, it probably should happen now.
Even when Mahomes gets his much-deserved adjustment, he quite possibly will still not be the highest-paid quarterback in the league. He should be. The fact that he apparently doesn’t want to be makes what the Chiefs currently have going even more rare.
And while we’re at it, Josh Allen might want to have his contract re-examined, too. At least the Chiefs are spending the excess by surrounding him with great talent. The Bills are still struggling to put together a team that can get past Mahomes and Burrow and return to the Super Bowl.
It’s definitely not because Josh Allen is hogging all the money.