Patrick Mahomes

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Latest On Chiefs’ Extensions

Although the Rams once cut Kurt Warner less than three years after he won the second of his two MVP awards, the notion of the Chiefs releasing Patrick Mahomes down the road sounds insane. But the contract categorized by some as team-friendly offers Mahomes extensive protection against a release for the foreseeable future.

The 10-year, $450MM deal — which ties Mahomes to the Chiefs through 2031 — contains lucrative buyout numbers, with Albert Breer of SI.com relaying that even as late as 2024, it would cost the Chiefs an astounding $78.4MM to get out of the contract. A year later, the buyout number still comes in north of $40MM — at $41.95MM, per Breer.

While Mahomes’ record re-up does not lead the league in fully guaranteed money, these buyout numbers and the roster bonus structure do not put the 24-year-old superstar in much danger of missing out on money owed — as long as he’s attached to this extension.

Mahomes may have set the market, but Ian Rapoport notes that Deshaun Watson is expected to seek a shorter-term deal in order to maximize his value (video link). A four-year deal would give the Texans quarterback a good chance to sign another extension before he turns 30. Although Mahomes’ contract features unprecedented security on the back end of his deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports envisions the lower-end (by franchise-QB standards) payouts early in the contract will not make other passers want to sign similarly structured extensions. Both Jared Goff ($84MM) and Carson Wentz ($81MM) will out-earn Mahomes ($63MM) over the first three years of their respective deals.

Mahomes’ 10-year agreement undoubtedly helped the Chiefs extend Chris Jones on Tuesday. Kansas City’s dominant defensive tackle signed a four-year, $80MM pact, with negotiations ramping up after Mahomes’ deal was finalized. Jones received $37.6MM fully guaranteed; that will be due by March 2021. Through two years of the deal, Jones will have pocketed $55.75MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The $5MM in incentives are $1.25MM-per-year, sack-based escalators, Florio adds.

Kansas City became the first team to give two defensive linemen — Jones and Frank Clark — $20MM-AAV deals. Of the Chiefs’ three $20MM-per-year players, Jones was the only one to negotiate a four-year contract. This would make him eligible to hit the market before he turns 30.

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Latest On Patrick Mahomes’ Record Extension

The Chiefs have their quarterback signed to an unprecedented contract, with the 10-year, $450MM deal — which could be worth up to $503MM — tying him to the team through the 2031 season. Mahomes is the only current NFLer signed beyond 2026. Here is the latest on the deal:

  • Although Patrick Mahomes‘ contract contains just $63MM fully guaranteed — fifth among quarterbacks, and more than $30MM behind Matt Ryan‘s record number — that number will bump up to $106MM by March, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. By March 2022, that number spikes to $141MM. By March 2023, it rises to $180MM (Twitter links via ex-GM Mike Tannenbaum and veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole).
  • Beginning in 2022, Mahomes has incentives tied to MVPs and AFC titles. Although those are quite difficult to come by, the 24-year-old superstar already has two such accomplishments. Every Mahomes MVP or Super Bowl appearance will trigger a $1.25MM bonus, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. That totals $25MM and vaults the contract to the $503MM figure.
  • Mahomes’ camp gave in a bit on signing bonus money but secured massive roster bonus payouts, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The “guarantee mechanisms” will generate roster bonuses north of $30MM from 2023-28. This structure peaks with a monster $49MM bonus payout in 2027, according to OverTheCap. As for cap hits, Mahomes’ numbers do not become gigantic until 2022. This year, Mahomes will count barely $5MM toward the Chiefs’ cap; in 2021, that number jumps to $24.8MM. After a $31MM hit in 2022, the quarterback will count at least $39MM toward Kansas City’s cap in the deal’s final nine seasons. This peaks with two $50MM-plus cap years in 2030-31, though the sides could naturally be expected to have a new deal in place by then.
  • Citing the shocking number of years Mahomes gave up to get to a $45MM-AAV number, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes the quarterback would have done better by waiting and securing a shorter-term deal. “It’s like he had no leverage,” an NFL source indicated to Florio regarding Mahomes’ deal. Mahomes will have security amid an uncertain financial time for the NFL, which could see its projected growth fail to materialize for a while. But if Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson opt for extensions that allow them the chance to re-sign while still in their 20s, both can be expected to surpass Mahomes’ $45MM number midway through the Chief’s deal.
  • Watson and Jackson can be expected to top $40MM per year, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic writes (subscription required), adding that Dak Prescott‘s agent (Todd France) will argue his client should be paid $40MM annually. The Cowboys are not believed to have offered their franchise-tagged quarterback more than $33MM per year. The Texans, however, were linked to a $40MM-plus-AAV Watson deal before Mahomes signed.

Patrick Mahomes’ Extension Worth Up To $503MM

Patrick Mahomes has inked the largest contract in sports history. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the quarterback’s 10-year extension is worth up to $503MM. The deal includes $477MM in “guarantee mechanisms.” Mahomes has the ability to opt out of the deal if “the guarantee mechanisms aren’t exercised,” and the contract also includes a no-trade clause.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com explored those new “guarantee mechanisms,” noting that it’s “new terminology as far as NFL contracts are concerned.” Florio believes the deal includes rolling guarantees, and the Chiefs will have to make a commitment to their quarterback (a year out, per Rapoport) each offseason. If the organization decides they “don’t want to make the commitment for the next season,” then Mahomes will have the ability to hit free agency.

Mahomes is the first professional athlete to sign a deal worth half a billion dollars, and as Rapoport points out on Twitter, it’s the first time an NFL player has held the title of “highest-paid player in sports history.” Even Mahomes’ $477MM in “guarantee mechanisms” exceeds the 12-year, $426.5MM deal that Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2019. The $50.3MM average annual value tops Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard‘s $49MM AAV (part of a four-year, $196MM deal that will begin in 2021).

Matt Ryan previously held the NFL record for largest contract after inking a five-year, $150MM deal with the Falcons in 2018. Russell Wilson set the NFL’s new AAV mark last offseason after signing a four-year, $140MM deal with the Seahawks.

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Chiefs Sign Patrick Mahomes To 10-Year Extension

In an offseason featuring little action on the extension front, the Chiefs broke through Monday with a monster deal. They have agreed to terms with Patrick Mahomes on a 10-year extension that will tie the quarterback to Kansas City through the 2031 season, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Chiefs have announced the deal.

This marks the first NFL contract to go beyond the 2020s, and it stands to keep the 2018 MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP in Kansas City through his age-36 season. Mahomes has only started two seasons, but the 2017 No. 10 overall pick has changed the trajectory of a franchise that for decades opted for veteran stopgaps at quarterback.

Mahomes’ extension will be worth a whopping $450MM, Schefter tweets, adding that $140MM is guaranteed. Both figures shatter NFL records. Mahomes’ $45MM-per-year price tag — a staggering $10MM increase on Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-AAV deal that previously resided as the NFL salary benchmark. As far as guarantees go, Mahomes’ bests the previous leader — Jared Goff‘s 2019 re-up — by $30MM.

This contract came together quickly. Mahomes and the Chiefs only began negotiating in late May. The superstar passer, whose rookie contract runs through 2021, became extension-eligible after the 2019 regular season’s conclusion.

The deal was rumored to contain a game-changing sweetener. Multiple sources believed the contract was set to tie Mahomes’ salaries to a percentage of the salary cap (Twitter links via Schefter and CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora). While that would have made the pact historically player-friendly, Schefter reports that the Chiefs did not include such a provision in the contract. The Chiefs began negotiations against such an arrangement, per Schefter (on Twitter).

Still, star-caliber players have increasingly opted for shorter-term deals in order to maximize earning potential. Mahomes, 24, is zagging in a historic direction. This market-resetting deal will likely play a key role in how Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson proceed in their respective extension negotiations.

The Chiefs traded up 17 spots for Mahomes three years ago and made the rare decision to sit him as a rookie. When Mahomes succeeded Alex Smith in his second season, the NFL landscape shifted. The Texas Tech product torched defenses throughout 2018, joining Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the 50-touchdown pass club. After another strong season, Mahomes is 2-for-2 in AFC championship game appearances. While an offside call led to the Chiefs falling short of Super Bowl LIII, Mahomes orchestrated three come-from-behind playoff victories to give the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years this past season.

In his two seasons as the Chiefs’ starter, Mahomes has 76 touchdown passes — eight more than any other quarterback through two seasons. Mahomes is also the only player to surpass 9,000 passing yards in his first two seasons as a starter, doing so despite missing two games last season with a knee injury.

Kansas City’s redefining re-up also arrives at a strange time. The NFL and NFLPA are in the process of negotiating a new financial reality. A season without fans in the stands threatens to reduce the 2021 salary cap, and if the league must borrow from projected future revenue to prevent such a scenario, it will have major financial ramifications. For Mahomes to agree to a deal under these circumstances says plenty about his desire to stay in western Missouri and the terms of said agreement. Mahomes is the first NFLer to be under contract for 12 years since fellow Andy Reid pupil Donovan McNabb signed his first Eagles extension in 2002 (h/t ESPN’s Field Yates).

Mahomes’ new deal will change the equation for the Chiefs, who have authorized a few high-priced contracts in recent years to take advantage of their quarterback’s rookie-deal window. The Chiefs have, however, checked off their biggest contract task of the offseason (and in franchise history). They now have nine days to finalize a deal with franchise-tagged defensive tackle Chris Jones. As of last week, the sides are not believed to be close on terms.

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AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Mahomes, Raiders, Broncos

Patrick Mahomes could be the NFL’s first $200MM player if he takes full advantage of his leverage, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com writes. However, Corry suggests that the Chiefs star should be less fixated on that figure and more focused on a similarly lucrative three-year extension. With a shorter deal, the quarterback could land an even bigger payday, thanks to the expected rise in revenue from the addition of a 17th regular season game.

There’s also been lots of chatter about a clause in the later years of Mahomes’ deal that would tie his contract to the salary cap as it escalates. It doesn’t seem out of the question for the NFL’s brightest star, but Corry isn’t sure if the Chiefs will be willing to set a radically new precedent in the game.

The salary cap percentage clause would be a game-changer, but I’d imagine that it’s in the realm of possibility for Mahomes, especially after Kirk Cousins secured a fully-guaranteed deal with the Vikings.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Raiders newcomer Nick Kwiatkoski will play middle linebacker in the Raiders 4-3 scheme, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports. Kwiatkoski played on the inside of the Bears’ 3-4 layout and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes that he can be the team’s field general at the position. Kwiatkoski – signed for three years thanks to his $21MM deal – will be joined by fellow free agent addition Cory Littleton.
  • Raiders rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. had his home searched by the DEA this week, but his agency says that the running back was not arrested or charged afterwards (via Tashan Reed of The Athletic). Barring league discipline, the Raiders plan to open the year with Bowden as one of their supporting tailbacks behind starter Josh Jacobs. Devontae Booker, Jalen Richard, and Rod Smith are also on hand. On the field, Bowden has impressed – he ran for nearly 1,500 yards at Kentucky last year with an eye-popping average of 7.9 yards per carry.
  • After the departure of safety Will ParksBroncos defensive back Alijah Holder says he’s ready to step up for whatever role he’s assigned. “I’m a quick learner and wherever they put me, I’m going to learn the position,” Holder said (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post). “In dime, I feel I could take on that role. In practice last year, I played dime and nickel so I’m pretty familiar with most of the stuff. I really would love the chance to play dime if [defensive coordinator Vic Fangio] if goes that way.”

Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes Start Extension Talks

The Chiefs have kicked off extension talks with Patrick Mahomes, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). There’s little doubt that a deal will ultimately get done and, once finalized, it should position the quarterback as the highest-paid player in NFL history.

[RELATED: Seahawks Wanted Patrick Mahomes In 2017 Draft]

Mahomes has two years remaining on his original rookie deal, worth $2.794MM and $24.837MM, respectively. After that, the Chiefs would still have the option of using the franchise tag, but that’s a costly game. Instead, the Chiefs would rather pony up the big bucks to lock down one of the game’s brightest stars for years to come.

Some believe that Texans QB Deshaun Watson will ink an extension before Mahomes signs his own mega-deal. That scenario would suit Mahomes just fine, as Watson would provide a favorable comp that the Chiefs passer would easily top.

For a while, we were hearing that Mahomes’ next deal could break the $40MM per year barrier. But, lately, there’s been talk of Watson striking the $40MM-$42MM/year range, which could set Mahomes up for a truly unprecedented ask of around $50MM per season, on average. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs would give it to him, but it wouldn’t be totally out of the ballpark.

After leading the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years, Mahomes can safely shoot for the moon. Meanwhile, his reps will be keeping a close eye on Watson’s talks, as well as Dak Prescott‘s negotiations with the Cowboys.

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Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes Have Not Begun Negotiations

At some point, the Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes are going to agree to a long-term extension that will make Mahomes the highest-paid player in NFL history. But while we heard back in February that the two sides could finalize something after the draft, negotiations have not yet gotten underway.

In a Facebook Live event with Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan yesterday, Kansas City chairman and CEO Clark Hunt spoke about contract discussions with the face of his franchise (story via Jelani Scott of NFL.com).

“The negotiations are something we’ll be getting into this summer,” Hunt said. “But what he has said and what we’ve said, both sides is, he wants to be a Kansas City Chief for life, and that’s our mentality as well. We want him to play his entire career in Kansas City, and that’s what we’re going to be shooting for.”

Hunt had indicated before this year’s Super Bowl that a Mahomes extension would not necessarily get done prior to the end of the 2020 season, but it appears that his timeline has been accelerated (it’s amazing what a Lombardi Trophy can do for someone’s goodwill). At the same time, it also makes sense from the team’s perspective to make sure that there will be a 2020 season before paying a player — even a player like Mahomes — tens of millions of dollars in upfront cash. Perhaps that’s why negotiations have been pushed back to the summer.

Mahomes was hampered a bit by a knee injury in 2019, so his regular season performance was not quite as otherworldly as it was in his MVP romp in 2018. But he was brilliant in the Chiefs’ title run, which culminated in Super Bowl MVP honors.

For his part, the 24-year-old sensation says he has no intentions of going anywhere. “I want to make sure I do [my next contract] the smart way and do it the right way, and so I don’t know exactly which way that is, yet,” Mahomes recently said. “I know that my people and the Chiefs’ people will talk about it, and will do it at the right time and for the betterment for the team. But I’m excited to be a Kansas City Chief for a very long time, and I know that’s going to be handled the right way because of the people the Kansas City Chiefs have in their organization

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Seahawks, Browns Discussed Russell Wilson Trade In 2018

In 2018, the Browns were armed with a very rare assortment of premium draft capital: the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks. Ultimately, of course, they used those picks on quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward, but they were reportedly involved in trade discussions that would have sent at least one of those selections to the Seahawks in exchange for superstar quarterback Russell Wilson.

In a recent appearance on the PFTOT podcast, Chris Simms says that Cleveland and Seattle discussed a trade wherein the Seahawks would have acquired the No. 1 overall pick from the Browns while sending their Super Bowl champion signal-caller to Ohio (story via Mike Florio of PFT). And according to Florio’s source, the discussion did indeed happen, though the source couched it as being more of a conceptual conversation.

These sorts of discussions certainly happen all the time, and they never really get anywhere because the teams involved have no real intention of trading their assets but simply want to exercise due diligence in case their prospective trading partner is willing to make an offer that’s impossible to turn down. But the fact that the Seahawks even considered trading Wilson is notable, especially given that he was only 29 at the time and had already established himself as one of the best QBs in the game.

As Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes, the ‘Hawks would not have traded Wilson for just the No. 1 pick; they would have demanded the No. 4 selection as well. Even that, however, seems like a small price to pay for a player of Wilson’s caliber, and one would think that the Browns would have pounced on the opportunity if it had truly presented itself.

At the time, Wilson and the Seahawks were in the midst of contract discussions that would culminate with Wilson becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history. And he has more than lived up to that deal thus far, posting back-to-back MVP-worthy seasons with an average QB rating of 108.6 and an average triple-slash of 3,779/33/6. He has added 718 rushing yards and three rushing scores for good measure, and he has yet to miss a game in his career.

Nonetheless, Florio’s sources do say that Wilson will be traded at some point in the relatively near future. By Wilson’s own admission, the inclusion of a no-trade clause in his current contract was instrumental in getting the deal done — perhaps because of the Cleveland discussions — but he could always waive it if he feels the time is right. Though a trade in the next several seasons would not be feasible because of the dead money charges it would leave on Seattle’s books, something could happen by 2022.

Indeed, Condotta notes that the Seahawks likely would have selected Patrick Mahomes if he had fallen to them in the 2017 draft, and GM John Schneider was also poking around Josh Allen the following offseason. In a couple of years, he may pull the trigger on a collegiate signal-caller and send Wilson elsewhere, difficult though that may be to fathom.

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Deshaun Watson To Sign Extension Before Patrick Mahomes?

We heard back in January that the Texans would try to sign QB Deshaun Watson to an extension this offseason, and indeed, the two sides are in the preliminary stages of contract discussions. And according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, some execs believe Watson will sign his new deal before Chiefs mega-star Patrick Mahomes signs his (Twitter link).

As both Watson and Mahomes were selected in the 2017 draft and have three years of service time under their belts, they are now eligible for extensions. The January report referenced above indicated that Watson wanted to sign his next contract after Mahomes so that he could try to trump it, but if what Fowler’s sources are saying is true, it seems as if the Texans are trying to prevent that from happening.

Per Fowler, Houston has more “urgency” to get something done with Watson, which makes sense if the team wants to avoid having to top a Mahomes deal. But it’s unclear if the Texans should really be worried about that. After all, as good as Watson is, Mahomes is otherworldly, so Watson’s desire to top a Mahomes deal and any Texans’ fears in that regard both seem a little misplaced. Plus, given that the salary cap may go down in the next several years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would seem that the club has more bargaining power than it may have anticipated.

As it stands, it may make more sense for Mahomes’ camp to wait until his Houston counterpart puts pen to paper. Recent projections for Watson’s contract are in the $40MM-$42MM/year range, which exceeds the initial estimates on Mahomes’ deal. If Watson gets an extension of that size, it may not be too much of a stretch to see Mahomes push for $50MM per year, though the reigning Super Bowl MVP has previously indicated that he wants to keep the Chiefs’ core together.

One way or another, Watson and Mahomes aren’t going anywhere. But when the contracts will get done and how much they will be worth remain up in the air, and with Bill O’Brien involved in the Watson negotiations, those questions are tough to answer.

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