Patrick Mahomes

NFL Restructures: Mahomes, Chiefs, Allen, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Martin, Cowboys

Completing a Marquise Brown signing after franchise-tagging L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs were able to find room due to once again taking advantage of Patrick Mahomes‘ unique contract. Kansas City created $21.6MM in cap space by restructuring the three-time Super Bowl MVP’s contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. The Chiefs have gone to this well twice before, making the move in 2021 and 2023 to create cap room. The team reworked Mahomes’ deal in September 2023, following the QB market moving well beyond the Missouri-based superstar’s $45MM AAV, by moving guaranteed money around. But the extension still runs through 2031, giving the team room to maneuver here. Even with the Sneed tag on the books — ahead of a potential trade — the Chiefs hold more than $15MM in cap space as of Friday afternoon.

Here is the latest on the restructure front:

  • After the Bills made a few high-profile cuts last week, they restructured their centerpiece player’s deal this week. Buffalo created $16.7MM in cap space by restructuring Josh Allen‘s deal, Field Yates of tweets. This merely moved Allen’s 2024 cap charge down to $30.4MM. No void years are on Allen’s $43MM-per-year extension, but monster cap numbers in 2026 and ’27 ($63.9MM, $56.9MM) will need to be addressed. Allen’s deal runs through 2028. The Bills also adjusted Dawson Knox‘s contract to create cap space, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
  • The Broncos may be preparing to take the bigger Russell Wilson dead money hit this year as opposed to in 2025. Though, the final number has not yet emerged. The team has created considerable cap space as of late, releasing Justin Simmons and trading Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos also restructured the contracts of 2023 UFA pickups Zach Allen and Ben Powers, per Yates, creating nearly $20MM in cap room.
  • The Cowboys reorganized Zack Martin‘s deal recently, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer, who indicates the move created roughly $13MM in cap space. To end Martin’s holdout last year, Dallas provided considerable guarantees over the final two years of the All-Pro guard’s six-year deal. That contract now features four void years. If the Cowboys do not extend Martin before the 2025 league year, they would be staring at a $24.5MM dead money blow.
  • Jedrick Wills will check in here, even though he is not on a veteran contract. The Browns restructured their left tackle’s fifth-year option, per’s Tom Pelissero. The move created more than $10MM in cap space. Cleveland tacked four void years onto Wills’ deal. If the team does not re-sign him before the 2025 league year, it incurs an $11.8MM dead money bill. The Browns also turned to Jerry Jeudy‘s fifth-year option, which the team recently acquired from the Broncos, to create more than $10MM in space, Yates adds. The team likely used the same void years-based structure with the wide receiver’s option.

QB Notes: Watson, Bears, Jones, Chiefs, Pats

Missing another Browns practice, Deshaun Watson provided details on his shoulder injury Wednesday. The seventh-year passer said he suffered a micro tear in his right rotator cuff, which the Akron Beacon Journal’s Chris Easterling notes amounts to a strained shoulder. Previously called a bruise, Watson’s injury will threaten to keep him sidelined for a third game. Watson’s hiatus did not begin until the Browns ruled him out hours before their Week 4 game. Watson said an MRI conducted the night before revealed he was battling more than a bruise.

Kevin Stefanski confirmed the obvious, after a 49ers upset, that P.J. Walker will remain the team’s backup. Watson added that he has been told this micro tear will not develop into a bigger injury that requires season-ending surgery, but the well-paid QB is resting to ensure he can throw without restrictions. Although Watson himself expressed hesitancy regarding a return Sunday,’s Jeremy Fowler notes the Browns are optimistic their top QB will be back. Watson has been cleared to play for weeks, but he and the team are believed to be on the same page regarding his return plan.

Here is the latest from the quarterback landscape:

  • Bouncing on and off the Bears‘ 53-man roster, Nathan Peterman is on the team at the moment. His yo-yoing between the practice squad and the active will pause for the time being, with Justin Fields doubtful for Week 7 with a dislocated thumb. Peterman, however, will serve as the backup to rookie UDFA Tyson Bagent, Matt Eberflus confirmed (via The Athletic’s Adam Jahns). Hailing from Division II Shepherd, Bagent replaced Fields in Week 6. Fields’ absence may last longer than one week, via’s Albert Breer, though it is still too early to tell here. Eberflus confirmed the team is still considering a surgery, which would redefine the team’s season.
  • It does not look like Daniel Jones will be able to go in Week 7. The fifth-year Giants quarterback continues to feel neck and left shoulder soreness and has not been cleared for full work. Though, Jones has been cleared to throw, Brian Daboll said. He just has not been cleared for contact, per the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz. Jones missed the final six games of the 2021 season because of a neck injury, one that led Daboll to New York to replace Joe Judge. Daboll said Jones’ season is not in jeopardy. Tyrod Taylor remains in place as the Giants’ backup, with Daboll reminding there is no competition between he and Jones for the starting role.
  • Stashed on the Patriots‘ practice squad until mid-October, Malik Cunningham played six offensive snaps against the Raiders in his NFL debut. The rookie UDFA may be in line for a bigger role soon. The Patriots’ coaches are discussing ways to increase the quarterback/receiver option’s usage, ESPN’s Dan Graziano writes. The Patriots have struggled in just about every facet offensively, sinking to 1-5. Cunningham flashed in the preseason. With Mac Jones and his wide receivers not making notable impacts, Cunningham would seemingly be worth a try as a gadget player.
  • The Chiefs updated Patrick Mahomescontract in September, providing a necessary adjustment after the QB market had passed the two-time MVP since his 10-year, $450MM extension came to pass in July 2020. Mahomes remains the only NFLer signed into the 2030s, and Fowler adds some agents have wondered if the Chiefs are using their superstar quarterback’s lengthy deal as a precedent in other players’ negotiations. The Chiefs engaged in extensive Chris Jones negotiations this offseason, failing to agree on an extension. Though, money was believed to be a bigger factor than contract length. Kansas City, however, did see contract length factor into its talks with Orlando Brown Jr. last summer. The Pro Bowl left tackle balked at a six-year offer worth $139MM, citing dissatisfaction with the guarantee. Rather than what would have been a seven-year commitment to the Chiefs, Brown hit free agency and signed a four-year, $64MM Bengals deal this offseason.

Patrick Mahomes Addresses Chiefs Contract Rework

Two days ago, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a new, restructured contract that gave him a significant raise for the short- and medium-term future while not requiring a completely new extension. It was noted that, while the overall value of his ten-year, $450MM contract didn’t change thus ensuring that his average annual salary didn’t change, Mahomes new deal set him up to potentially make $210.6MM over the next four years, the highest amount for that period of time in NFL history. It also sets him up to receive $56.8MM in cash for the 2023 NFL season, second only to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, according to Spotrac.

This restructure was a nice reward for Mahomes, who, since receiving the original contract as a reward for winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl since the moon landing, has taken the team to two more Super Bowls, winning one of them, and has won a second league MVP award. But the new deal also serves a more magnanimous purpose.

“You’ve got to keep the bar going; you got to keep it moving,” Mahomes told Adam Teicher of ESPN. “I don’t want people to be negotiated against me, and so that’s the reason that you do something like I did…just trying to keep the market moving in the right direction…so not only me but other quarterbacks in other positions can get paid the money they deserve.”

That’s right. As odd as it may sound, Mahomes took a raise for the other quarterbacks in the league. He soundly reasoned that, as long as he continues to be one of the paradigms of the football world, anytime a young quarterback is up for a new contract, their accomplishments will be held in comparison to his.

The biggest downside of Mahomes’ incredibly long extension is that we have seen quarterback contracts more than double in value over the last ten years. Who’s to say how much they will continue to grow over the next ten? Perhaps, exponentially! If every young QB is being compared to Mahomes and their stats and accomplishments pale in comparison, they’ll constantly be dragged down to the level of his contract, fighting the natural inflation of player values.

Instead, Mahomes agreed to devise a way to raise the bar within the bounds of his current deal. As Jackson, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Daniel Jones, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow all have signed four- to six-year deals over the past couple of years, Mahomes decided to set a new precedent for deals ranging that amount of time. Mahomes has seen the value of the quarterback position continue to rise. As the reigning MVP and Super Bowl MVP, Mahomes took it upon himself to set a new bar that will continue to rise as quarterbacks earn new deals.

While Mahomes wanted to take care of himself and his fellow quarterbacks, he also didn’t want to hamper his team’s ability to win by bogarting all of Kansas City’s cap space. He wanted to make sure that general manager Brett Veach would still be able to surround him with the talent necessary for winning a third Super Bowl.

“You have to watch and see what’s going on around the league and find that right spot,” Mahomes said, “and I thought we found a good one in this negotiation…(in) that we will be able to still keep cap space for other guys to get signed.”

So, yes, Mahomes’ new contract makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history over the next four years, a just reward for his recent accolades, but it also raises the bar for what quarterbacks will be able to make in the future while preserving enough cap space to sign a talented crew around him. Who knew that becoming one of the richest players in NFL history could have such a selfless impact?

Details On Patrick Mahomes’ Reworked Chiefs Contract

The Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow deals led to the Chiefs rearranging some of Patrick Mahomes‘ money. It marks an update for the two-time MVP, and the figures from the landmark adjustment are coming out.

While billed as a $200MM-plus guarantee bump, the through-2026 reworking does not hold that much in full guarantees. Mahomes will indeed see $208.1MM in total guarantees, which cover injuries, but’s Albert Breer notes the full guarantee number checks in at $133.7MM. The latter amount runs through 2025. No new years are included in the deal, which still runs through 2031. Mahomes remains the only NFLer signed into the 2030s.

[RELATED: Chiefs, Chris Jones Come To Resolution]

The full guarantee number comes in south of Jackson’s deal ($135MM) but is in line with Herbert’s ($133.7MM), with the Chargers QB’s extension likely being a checkpoint in the Chiefs’ process. Deshaun Watson‘s full guarantee ($230MM) still laps the field, with Burrow’s $146.5MM number in second. But Mahomes has already played three seasons on the historic 10-year, $450MM extension he signed in July 2020. As QBs continue to pass Mahomes to make his AAV almost look like a second-tier number, the Kansas City superstar’s camp contacted the Chiefs about an update.

Mahomes’ agent contacted the Chiefs two days before Super Bowl LVII to inquire about a contract adjustment, Breer adds. The Chiefs tabled that discussion, with GM Brett Veach indicating this offseason the team would reassess the outlier extension after the Hurts-Jackson-Herbert-Burrow contingent’s deals were finalized. Not long after Burrow inked his record-setting five-year, $275MM deal, the Chiefs moved forward with their Mahomes update.

Overall, Mahomes will make $43.3MM more through 2026 than he was originally scheduled to earn in that span, Breer adds. As OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald writes, the Chiefs moved money from Mahomes’ backloaded accord to make this happen. Mahomes also picked up a $20.6MM signing bonus, which Breer confirms will be paid now and in 2024. The seventh-year quarterback will receive $56.85MM in 2023, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

The cap numbers from this rare agreement have not emerged yet, but’s Field Yates notes the transaction actually saves the Chiefs 2023 money. The defending champions created $2.5MM in cap space by making this move. The Chiefs came into the week with just more than $5MM in cap room. Mahomes also agreed to push back roster bonus dates to May during this through-2026 agreement, Breer adds, allowing for Chiefs flexibility during free agency. These bonuses, as part of a rolling guarantee structure that locked in the 28-year-old QB’s salaries a year out, were previously due on the third day of each league year.

None of the QBs to ink extensions since Mahomes’ came out have followed the future Hall of Famer’s blueprint. Burrow, Herbert, Jackson and Hurts each signed five-year deals, though Jackson’s is a true five-year pact due to the Ravens having franchise-tagged him. Hurts is signed for six years, while Burrow and Herbert are attached to their respective teams for seven due to the Bengals and Chargers signing their franchise QBs with two years remaining on their rookie contracts. This group will have more bites at the apple, but as Monday’s Mahomes move shows, the Chiefs are willing to accommodate their cornerstone player despite having him locked down for nine more seasons. It took a unique reworking to do so, however.

This agreement makes 2027 a natural next phase for negotiations. The QB market, which did not have a $30MM-per-year player until 2018, has climbed by $10MM in average salary since Mahomes raised the bar three summers ago. More QB extensions will move the salary ceiling well past $60MM by the time Mahomes and the Chiefs huddle up again. Mahomes will be set for his age-32 season in 2027.

Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes Agree To Restructured Deal

The Chiefs have revisited the contract in place with their star quarterback, agreeing to a signficant raise in the short- and intermediate-term future. Patrick Mahomes has agreed to a revised contract in which his compensation through 2026 is guaranteed, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter notes that Mahomes will receive $210.6MM between now and 2026, the most in league history across a four-year span. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network adds the two-time Super Bowl MVP can earn up to $218.1MM over that stretch via escalators. He and the Chiefs will reconvene after the 2026 campaign to address their relationship, as that year now essentially marks the end of his monster extension first signed in 2020.

That 10-year. $450MM pact has regularly led to speculation a signficant revision would be coming at some point down the road. After several (less accomplished) passers inked mega-deals of their own which exceeded his $45MM AAV, plenty have pointed to this offseason as a time when the defending champions may bring their passer back toward the top of the pecking order in terms of annual compensation. Schefter adds that Mahomes – who sat ninth in that regard after Joe Burrow‘s Bengals extension was signed – will now move “near the top” of the pile.

Knowing the likes of Burrow, Jalen HurtsLamar Jackson and Justin Herbert would be in line for enormous second contracts this offseason, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in April that Kansas City would wait for those pacts to be signed before addressing the Mahomes situation. Each member of that quartet took turns holding the title of the league’s highest-paid player on a per-year basis, eclipsing the $51MM AAV mark along the way.

A report emerged in May indicating the Chiefs may have an agreement in place by Week 1 ensuring Mahomes moved back to the top of the heap. That timeline has proven to be slightly off, but the just-turned 28-year-old will now carry on with the 2023 season knowing his future for the remainder of the campaign (and the three following it) is in a more certain position. The move comes not long after All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones signed a revised one-year deal to end his holdout in Kansas City.

“I’ve always said I worry about legacy and winning rings more than making money at this moment,” Mahomes said in the spring“We see what’s going on around the league, but at the same time, I’ll never do anything that’s going to hurt us from keeping the great players around me. So it’s kind of teetering around that line.”

With Jones back in the fold – and open to a new Chiefs deal keeping him in place beyond 2023 – and cost certainty now having been attained with Mahomes – Kansas City can proceed with a clearer financial outlook. The team’s Super Bowl window will likely remain open as long as the latter is healthy, but efforts to maintain as many core pieces as possible will remain a top priority with Mahomes occupying a large portion of its cap sheet.

The two-time league MVP will continue to face massive expectations given not only the success he has enjoyed to begin his career, but also the move on the Chiefs’ part to accelerate substantial cash flow over a relatively short period of time. With the end of the 2026 season now looming as a (practical) end to his deal, it will be worth watching how he performs until that point with respect to his future earning potential.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Offense

The NFL’s salary cap once again ballooned by more than $10MM, rising from its $208.2MM perch to $224.8MM. Factoring in the pandemic-induced 2021 regression, the NFL’s salary risen has climbed by more than $42MM since 2021.

This has allowed teams more opportunities for roster additions and opened the door for more lucrative player deals — at most positions, at least. However, it does not look like this season will include a $40MM player cap number. The Browns avoided a record-shattering Deshaun Watson $54.9MM hit by restructuring the quarterback’s fully guaranteed contract, calling for monster figures from 2024-26.

Here are the largest cap hits for teams on the offensive side going into training camp:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $39.69MM
  2. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $36.6MM
  3. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $30.98MM
  4. Jake Matthews, T (Falcons): $28.36MM
  5. Trent Williams, T (49ers): $27.18MM
  6. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $26.83MM
  7. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $26.61MM
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $23.8MM
  9. Amari Cooper, WR (Browns): $23.78MM
  10. Mike Evans, WR (Buccaneers): $23.69MM
  11. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $23.67MM
  12. Joe Thuney, G (Chiefs): $22.12MM
  13. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $22MM
  14. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $22MM
  15. Daniel Jones, QB (Giants): $21.75MM
  16. David Bakhtiari, T (Packers): $21.29MM
  17. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $20.25MM
  18. D.J. Moore, WR (Bears): $20.17MM
  19. Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): $20MM
  20. Brian O’Neill, T (Vikings): $19.66MM
  21. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $19.35MM
  22. Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): $19.1MM
  23. Braden Smith, T (Colts): $19MM
  24. Josh Allen, QB (Bills): $18.64MM
  25. Courtland Sutton, WR (Broncos): $18.27MM

As should be expected, quarterbacks dominate this list. Mahomes’ number checks in here despite the Chiefs restructuring his 10-year, $450MM contract in March; the two-time MVP’s cap hit would have set an NFL record had Kansas City not reduced it. The Chiefs did not restructure Mahomes’ deal last year, but if they do not address it — perhaps via a complex reworking — before next season, Mahomes’ $46.93MM number would break an NFL record.

The Titans have not touched Tannehill’s contract this offseason, one that included some trade rumors months ago. This is the final year of Tannehill’s Tennessee extension. Mahomes and Tannehill sat atop this ranking in 2022.

Cousins is also heading into a contract year, after the Vikings opted for a restructure and not an extension this offseason. Cousins does not expect to discuss another Minnesota deal until 2024, when he is due for free agency. Two relatively low cap numbers have started Wilson’s $49MM-per-year extension. The Denver QB’s cap number rises to $35.4MM in 2024 and reaches historic heights ($55.4MM) by ’25. The subject of a Goff extension has come up, and it would bring down the Lions passer’s figure. But Goff remains tied to his Rams-constructed $33.5MM-per-year deal through 2024.

Jackson and Jones’ numbers will rise in the near future, with the latter’s contract calling for a quick spike in 2024. Next year, the Giants QB’s cap hit will be $45MM. Watson’s 2024 hit, as of now, would top that. The Browns signal-caller is on the team’s ’24 payroll at $63.98MM. Long-term consequences aside, the Browns can be expected to once again go to the restructure well with Watson’s outlier contract.

The Raiders did not backload Garoppolo’s three-year contract; it only climbs to $24.25MM on Las Vegas’ 2024 cap sheet. The Bills did backload Allen’s pact. Its team-friendly years are done after 2023; the six-year accord spikes to $47.1MM on Buffalo’s cap next year. The Cowboys have gone to the restructure well with Prescott. Like Watson, the Cowboys quarterback is tied to a seemingly untenable 2024 cap number. The March restructure resulted in Prescott’s 2024 number rising to $59.46MM. Two seasons remain on that $40MM-AAV extension.

Another notable cap hold that should be mentioned is Tom Brady‘s. When the Buccaneers did not sign the again-retired QB to another contract before the 2023 league year, his $35.1MM dead-money figure went onto Tampa Bay’s 2023 cap sheet. The Bucs will absorb that entire amount this year. Brady’s 2022 restructure, after retirement No. 1, led to the $35.1MM figure forming.

Were it not for another O-line-record extension, the Tunsil number would have come in at $35MM this year. Matthews signed an extension last year. Moore would have come in higher on this list were he still on the Panthers, who took on $14.6MM in dead money to move their top wideout for the No. 1 overall pick. Sutton came up regularly in trade rumors, with the Broncos wanting a second-round pick for the sixth-year veteran. The former second-rounder’s high base salary ($14MM) hinders his trade value.

Patrick Mahomes Addresses Contract

Patrick Mahomes‘ contract has come up a few times this year, and once Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are extended, the issue figures to be a regular talking point. The most accomplished of the league’s current wave of 20-something quarterbacks has been passed over several times now, with no QB yet to follow Mahomes’ 10-year extension blueprint.

That 10-year, $450MM deal drew scrutiny in the moment, tying the game’s biggest star to a team for 12 seasons. Nine remain on the Chiefs quarterback’s contract. A rumor earlier this offseason pointed to the Chiefs restoring Mahomes as the game’s highest-paid player by Week 1. With Mahomes signed through 2031, the mechanisms of Kansas City doing so would be unusual. But the two-time MVP is not making an aggressive push for a new deal — at least not publicly.

I’ve always said I worry about legacy and winning rings more than making money at this moment,” Mahomes said, via ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “We see what’s going on around the league, but at the same time, I’ll never do anything that’s going to hurt us from keeping the great players around me. So it’s kind of teetering around that line.”

Whereas Rob Gronkowski‘s lengthy Patriots extension once gridlocked the tight end market for a stretch in the 2010s, Mahomes’ pact did not serve as a roadblock for other extension-seeking QBs. Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson have all passed Mahomes’ $45MM AAV number within three years. Teams have successfully made Watson’s fully guaranteed Browns deal an outlier, but Hurts and Jackson just signed for north of $50MM apiece on five-year re-ups. Questions about each dual-threat QB’s prime duration aside, both Jackson and Hurts may well be in position to cash in again later in the 2020s. Mahomes’ lengthy deal would, in a vacuum, not force the Chiefs’ hand.

Then again, GM Brett Veach said earlier this offseason the team would reexamine Mahomes’ contract once Burrow and Herbert signed. Seeing as not to enter a dispute with the biggest star in franchise history, the Chiefs would seem unlikely to refuse a renegotiation.

You just want to do whatever to not hurt other quarterbacks [financially],” Mahomes said. “Whenever their contracts come up, you want to keep the bar pushing [higher]. It’s not about being the highest-paid guy; it’s not about making a ton of money. I’ve made enough money where I’ll be set for the rest of my life. But at the same time, you got to find that line where you’re making a good amount of money but you’re still keeping a lot of great players around you so you can win these Super Bowls and you’re able to compete in these games.”

When Mahomes signed his extension in July 2020, he passed Wilson’s AAV lead by $10MM and only did so because he signed off on the unusual term length. While the Chiefs included a rolling guarantee structure that locks in money a year out, Mahomes will likely soon see his deal trail the game’s salary leader by more than $10MM. Burrow or Herbert ending up at $55MM per year or beyond that point is not difficult to envision.

But the team-friendly deals Mahomes and Travis Kelce accepted in 2020 allowed the Chiefs to extend Chris Jones. The All-Pro defensive tackle has maintained top form and is now in a contract year again. The Chiefs, who passed on paying Tyreek Hill top-market money and let the Patriots outbid them for JuJu Smith-Schuster, will also have second-round standouts Creed Humphrey and Nick Bolton in contract years in 2024. Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed became extension-eligible in January, though the Chiefs have avoided paying corners for most of the Andy Reid era.

If you look at the greats in the league, they find that right spot where they’re getting paid a lot of money but at the same time keeping a lot of these great players around,” Mahomes said. “… I understand you look at the team and you’ve got guys like Chris and Sneed and even Travis — all these guys that you need to keep around you to have these great teams. But at the same time, you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”

Not all the QBs around the league have operated this way; Mahomes doing so has certainly aided the Chiefs. With the two-time Super Bowl champion not exactly shutting down the idea of a renegotiated deal, this will be a key NFL storyline as the Bengals and Chargers navigate their respective negotiations.

Chiefs Planning Raise For Patrick Mahomes?

The Chiefs did well to lock down Patrick Mahomes to a contract that does not expire until March 2032. While the summer 2020 extension gave Mahomes a $10MM AAV advantage on his peers, the field caught up less than two years after the deal was finalized.

With Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson moving past the $50MM-per-year barrier on long-term deals in April, Mahomes’ $45MM-AAV pact has fallen to seventh at the position. Accomplishment-wise, Mahomes laps his 20-something peers but has nine seasons left on an extension that has not blazed a trail for others. His rivals have surpassed his average salary and have done so on traditional QB accords.

Chiefs GM Brett Veach said the team would look into Mahomes’ deal after other QB pacts became finalized. This year’s crop is only halfway there, as Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert remain tied to their rookie contracts. But the Chiefs may be looking to avoid a potential standoff down the road. Mahomes should be expected to enter the 2023 season as the league’s highest-paid QB again, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Kansas City probably should not be expected to relinquish the control (and roster-building advantages) the 2020 extension provided, making a scenario in which the team tears up the through-2031 contract in favor of a traditional — and more player-friendly — structure unlikely. Florio suggests tacking on three years and $156MM to the deal, one that is already north of $450MM in total value due to its length and Mahomes having begun to cash in on incentives. That type of bump would move Mahomes past Jackson’s $52MM-per-year average. A new agreement of any sort would undoubtedly require a guarantee adjustment as well, with the Hurts and Jackson deals serving as relevant source material. But this will be an unusual renegotiation, given the time left on Mahomes’ current pact.

Mahomes, 27, is not believed to have made a push for an adjustment that puts him on par with his peers. But the 2017 first-round pick changed the Chiefs’ trajectory to the point they have won two Super Bowls and appeared in three during his five-year starter tenure. Prior to their Mahomes-led Super Bowl LIV title, the Chiefs had gone 50 years without a Super Bowl berth. His two MVPs are more than any active QB except Aaron Rodgers, who began his starter tenure 10 years before Mahomes. The Texas Tech product’s two Super Bowl MVP honors lead all active NFLers. The Chiefs taking a hardline approach with their transformative player would not exactly be a good look. That said, Mahomes did agree to a 10-year extension. An adjustment so early would be a precedent-breaking transaction. It would also be very interesting if Mahomes lobbies for a shorter-term deal during a renegotiation of sorts.

Only $63.1MM came fully guaranteed in Mahomes’ 2020 deal. Deshaun Watson‘s Browns pact — one the NFL has successfully tabbed an outlier — includes $230MM locked in. Jackson passed Russell Wilson for second in fully guaranteed money by securing $135MM from the Ravens last month. The Chiefs did include guarantee mechanisms that protect Mahomes, giving him year-out security. His 2024 roster bonus ($34.9MM) became guaranteed March 17 of this year; this cycle repeats in the years to follow. But the market has changed considerably since the parties finalized the QB’s second contract.

Kansas City also has a new Chris Jones extension to construct, in all likelihood, with the team’s top pass rusher entering the final season of his four-year, $80MM deal. Mahomes’ unorthodox extension helped the Chiefs extend Jones the first time, though the organization passed on a third Tyreek Hill contract last year.

Should the Chiefs indeed proceed down this path with Mahomes so early in his current deal, it will be one of the most interesting contractual processes in recent NFL history. With Burrow potentially set to take the market to $55MM per year, the Chiefs would have a unique task to complete in the coming months.

Chiefs To Assess Patrick Mahomes’ Contract After Other Quarterback Deals

While Aaron Rodgers broke the $50MM-per-year barrier in 2022, the Packers quarterback signed an unusually structured deal that tacked on three years to his previous pact. Jalen Hurts$51MM-AAV accord represented a true long-term deal in this price range, moving another quarterback past Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs and Mahomes worked on his outlier deal in 2020, and the sides reached an agreement on a 10-year extension worth $450MM. At the time, Mahomes’ AAV stood $10MM north of the NFL’s second-highest average salary. The field caught up with the superstar passer quick. Hurts’ deal bumps Mahomes down to fifth among QB AAV, and the Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert extensions will almost definitely drop the two-time MVP out of the top five.

It would be unusual for a team to renegotiate with a player with this many years of control remaining on his contract, and the Chiefs are not committing to doing so. Then again, the franchise’s previous pre-Mahomes Super Bowl berth occurred in 1969. The team should not be expected to enter into a contract squabble with the three-time Super Bowl starter. Brett Veach said Thursday the team would reassess where its QB stands after the Bengals and Chargers lock up their passers.

We have a special relationship with [Mahomes] and his agent. We’re in constant communication,” Veach said. “It’s one of those things — and I think coach [Andy Reid] hinted on this in his last press conference — where as soon as one guy gets done, it’s kind of the blueprint and the model. And a few years later, it’s jumped and exceeded.

But I think that this organization and the relationship we have with Pat will always be working to make sure that we’re doing right by everybody. There will be a couple more contracts that still have to get done — Burrow and Herbert — and once they do, I think you kind of look at everything and assess where you are and what you can do and take it from there.”

After Rodgers signed his third contract (worth $22MM on average) back in 2013, the quarterback market did not move much for the next four years. By 2017, Derek Carr had only raised the AAV bar to $25MM. Kirk Cousins‘ fully guaranteed pact in 2018 ($28MM per) opened the floodgates, and the position’s importance obviously gives the game’s reliable starters considerable leverage. The QB market spiked from $35MM (Russell Wilson‘s third-contract AAV from an April 2019 agreement) to $50MM over a three-year span, and Hurts has set the table for Burrow and Herbert to move it higher. This leaves Mahomes in a strange place.

Lapping his peers in terms of accomplishments, the two-time Super Bowl MVP is signed through 2031. No other QB’s deal runs past 2028; the passers extended since Mahomes’ contract have understandably preferred traditional structures to maximize leverage while still in their primes. Mahomes, 27, has not made a known push to receive any raise, and his contract does contain guarantee mechanisms — which lock in salaries a year out — that protect him. But as the market keeps rising, Mahomes’ deal will continue to be surpassed by players who have achieved far less.

The six-year veteran played most of the 2022 playoffs with a high ankle sprain, aggravating it multiple times. While Mahomes does not appear danger of missing offseason time, he said this week (via’s James Palmer) the ankle is not fully healed yet. Mahomes, who underwent toe surgery in 2021 and missed workouts during that offseason, said swelling has subsided and he is navigating independent offseason workouts fine. He worked out with Boston College receiver prospect Zay Flowers on Wednesday. But pain remains at times. Still, Mahomes said (via Palmer) he does not expect to be limited during OTAs. Mahomes has not missed a full game due to injury since 2019.

NFL Restructures: Smith, Mahomes, Fitzpatrick, Peat, Thomas, Hines, Waller

We had news recently that Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith had agreed to restructure his contract with the team, reducing his massive $17.6MM cap hit. Thanks to Todd Archer of ESPN, we now have some details on the deal. Smith was headed into the last year of an eight-year agreement, so his restructure essentially functions as a one-year contract.

The newly restructured contract will be a one-year, $6MM deal with a potential maximum value of $17MM. He received a $3MM signing bonus for the changes and has his $3MM base salary guaranteed. The deal rapidly escalates from there with several playing time incentives. Smith will receive an additional $1MM bonus for each of these snap share thresholds: 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, and 90%. This means that if he plays over 90% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, he will receive $9MM, one for each of the nine levels.

He can also receive playoff incentives, 75% of which are paid off of wins alone. The remaining 25% is paid if he plays over half of the team’s offensive snaps in those wins. He would receive $500,000 for each playoff win in which he plays the majority of the snaps. With four possible playoff wins, that’s a total of $2MM in playoff bonuses. Those plus the $9MM from the playing time incentives and the $6MM guaranteed at signing push the contract to it’s maximum value of $17MM.

Here is some other news on restructures from around the league:

  • The Chiefs created some financial breathing room by restructuring star quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘s massive contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The team converted $12MM of his 2023 roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $9.6MM in cap space for the season.
  • Yates also reports that the Steelers found some cap space by restructuring the contract of a star. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick agreed to a restructured deal that would reward the Steelers with $10.07MM of additional cap space in 2023 by converting $13.42MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus.
  • The Saints were able to gain some cap room by restructuring the deal of guard Andrus Peat, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The team converted $4MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus, reducing his salary from $11.83MM to $7.83MM. He then took an additional pay cut to reduce his 2023 base salary to $1.5MM as the team voided out his 2024 salary, adding three more voidable years to the deal. The moves resulted in an additional $9.53MM in cap space for New Orleans.
  • Another NFC South player reportedly took a pay cut as Panthers tight end Ian Thomas agreed to a restructured deal, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. In his new deal, Thomas will earn $3MM in 2023 and $3.65MM in 2024. The deal creates an additional $2.88MM in cap space.
  • Another report from Yates tells us that the Bills have agreed to a renegotiated contract with running back Nyheim Hines. While the details are not yet available, it entails a $1MM signing bonus and the opportunity to earn $4.79MM in bonuses, clearing out some cap space for Buffalo while providing some incentives for Hines next season.
  • Lastly, following the tight end’s trade to the Giants, Darren Waller has agreed to a renegotiated deal with his new team, according to Yates. New York has converted $9.84MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus. The move creates $7.87MM in additional cap space for the Giants.