For many, the 6th July 2020 is as unremarkable a date as any other during this year’s lockdown period, but for Patrick Lavon Mahomes II, that date may stand as one of the most important days of his life. The 25 year old Kansas City Chiefs quarterback signed a 10-year contract extension valued at a maximum of $503 million – the highest value contract ever signed in North American sports history.
Despite the achievement, Mahomes may not even remember 2020 primarily for his record-breaking contract. On February 2nd, he led his team to an against-all-odds victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, subsequently winning the Super Bowl MVP Award. The win gave the Kansas City Chiefs their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. Mahomes is undeniably a Chiefs legend and many are unsurprised by his rise to the top.
The 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft was always touted for greatness – as are most high draft picks. He spent the 2017-2018 season as the back-up quarterback behind Chiefs’ then-starting quarterback Alex Smith, but didn’t play a secondary role for too long as Smith was soon traded, freeing up the coveted starting quarterback slot. Mahomes, now a starter, took his game to the next level. Spearheaded by Mahomes, Kansas were the AFC West champions following a record-breaking season in 2018-2019. He earned the title of league MVP, becoming only the 2nd African-American to do so.
Looking back at the results Mahomes posted, it becomes easier to understand exactly why Chiefs’ ownership tied him down on a 10-year $503 million contract extension in the middle of a pandemic which caused world economies to crash. The actual value of Mahomes’ contract is $477 million with $25 million in incentives, in winning the AFC championship and Super Bowl ($1.25 million for each accomplish for 10 years). Essentially, this is Mahomes betting on himself to be able to deliver and earn the incentives. He received a $10 million signing bonus as well as his 2020 base salary of $825 000. The base salary is set to increase nearly fifty-fold over the next ten years to $38 million with the rest of his salary being roster bonuses (Bonus for being listed in a particular season’s 53-man Kansas City Chiefs Roster).
Mahomes, son of a former MLB baseball player, is accustomed to the bright lights that come with holding a starting quarterback position in the NFL, but the scrutiny he will receive in the upcoming years will expose him to a different kind of pressure than he has ever experienced before. He has continued the work of the few who have come before him in pushing racial barriers at the quarterback position, with his current form only serving to inspire a generation who will watch him play at the highest level. So far, the Chiefs have three victories from three matches in the 2020 NFL season.
Only time will tell whether the new face of the NFL will deliver for Kansas and lead them to a second consecutive Super Bowl Victory. One thing we know for sure is that we are watching history being written in front of us, and Patrick Mahomes is the author.
Image Credit: CNBC