The Chiefs’ superstar signed a league-changing extension right when it’s most difficult for players to ink new deals. But the normal orders of the sport don’t apply to the best quarterback in decades.
The Chiefs started planning for Patrick Mahomes’s extension before he was even a starter. This was in the days when Alex Smith was starting and Mahomes’s brilliance was seen only by other Chiefs players and coaches. When, as a rookie in practice, he stared at the sideline and flicked a no-look pass over Justin Houston’s head, or when he threw across his body perfectly before he even knew the offense, Chiefs coaches told me. It was obvious to anyone who saw those practices what was coming. And, well, everything was coming: an MVP, a Super Bowl win, and countless throws that would be impossible for almost any other quarterback. The Chiefs always knew they’d have to pay a lot of money for that, and they knew it would be worth it.
All of these things led to a conversation I had with Chiefs general manager Brett Veach last season, in which he said the obvious about Mahomes’s contract: “I think Pat will get what he deserves.” He deserved everything, and on Monday, he got it. Mahomes signed a 10-year extension on top of his existing two years left, giving him 12 years on a deal worth more than $500 million.
As with all NFL deals, the value hinges on the details—the exact structure is not yet known—but the initial numbers make it the biggest deal in American sports history. In the last decade, eight NBA teams have sold for less.