On July 6, 2020, history was made in the NFL. For the first time since Michael Vick got his extension in 2004, an NFL quarterback received a 10-year extension. That quarterback was none other than Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is only the sixth quarterback in the history of football to receive a 10-year contract. According to CBS Sports, the other quarterbacks are Vick (2004), Daunte Culpepper (2003), Donovan McNabb (12-year contract in 2002), Drew Bledsoe (2001), Brett Farve (2001) and Steve Young (43 year contract with the USFL).
If any current league quarterback was going to get a 10-year contract it would be Mahomes. In his first season as a full-time starter, Mahomes tied the record for second-most touchdowns thrown in a single season with 50 (Tom Brady 2007) and brought the Chiefs within a possession of a Super Bowl appearance. The following season Mahomes carried the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory and was the MVP of the game. The most spectacular part about the Chiefs postseason run is that some point during each of their three postseason games the team was down double digits and came back to win their games.
Since this is the first time in almost two decades that a quarterback received a 10-year extension there is sure to be some backlash around the league. Here are who it affects and what will likely happen because of it.
The quarterback who was supposed to be next in line for an extension was Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys. Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott has been to two Pro Bowls, won Offensive Rookie of the Year and brought the Cowboys to the playoffs twice. This past year, Prescott had career highs in multiple categories including passing yards and touchdowns, but failed to bring the team to the playoffs.
After not coming to terms on an extension the Cowboys franchise-tagged Prescott worth $31.4 million on March 16. However Prescott did not sign the franchise tender until June 22. Now Prescott and the Cowboys have until July 15 to agree upon a long term extension before Prescott has to play the year on the franchise tag.
There are reports that now Prescott will not take under $40 million a year after seeing what Mahomes contract is. The Cowboys aren’t comfortable paying Prescott that much and would rather start him off at $35 million a year on a longer-term deal much like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.
Dallas Cowboys insider Mike Fisher claims one positive about the Mahomes deal in the Prescott negotiations is that after seeing Mahomes take such a long term deal with the Chiefs, Prescott might be more open to taking a long term deal. One of the points of the contract the two sides can’t come to terms on is the length of the deal. Prescott wants a short term deal while the Cowboys want him under contract for five years.
Unless Prescott wins league MVP or carries the Cowboys to the Super Bowl the team is not likely going to give in completely to his demands. If Prescott and the Cowboys do not come to terms on a deal by early next offseason we could see the Cowboys let Prescott find his $40 million per year, short term deal somewhere else while the team looks at quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Before the 2017 NFL Draft, many thought the most talented quarterback coming out that year was Clemson’s Deshaun Wastson. Watson was fresh off two impressive National Championship appearances (lost in 2015-16 and won in 2016-17). He was the most notable of the quarterbacks in the class, but he was the third quarterback selected that year. The quarterbacks that went before him were “the best pro style quarterback in this year’s class” Mitch Trubisky out of North Carolina and a project quarterback with a cannon Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech.
Entering their fourth years in the league, all three had had varying levels of success. After all of them made the Pro Bowl in 2018, Trubisky has to fight for his starting job, Mahomes just received a 10-year extension and Watson appears to be next in line for a long term deal. There have not been rumblings about the Texans working on an extension with Watson but it is likely coming.
Houston Texans Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien has been criticized for his recent transactions including big-name players like Jadeveon Clowney, Laremy Tunsil, DeAndre Hopkins, and Brandin Cooks. However, all those trades were done with the intension of keeping Watson protected, happy and having enough cap space to sign him to a long term deal.
Watson is a two-time Pro Bowler and has brought the Texans to the playoffs twice in three years. This year Watson won his first playoff game of his career in the Wild Card round against the Buffalo Bills, but lost the following week to Mahomes’ Chiefs.
It is hard to know or understand what Bill O’Brien will do next, but after trying to figure out an extension with Laremy Tunsil his next priority is to extend Deshaun Watson. Given Watson’s success and what he means to the franchise on top of seeing what Patrick Mahomes was paid he will likely be overpaid receiving more than $40 million a year. One more great season for Watson could solidify that future for him.
The most valuable free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs this past offseason was defensive tackle Chris Jones. Within the past two seasons, Jones has entered the conversation for the best defensive tackle in the league. In 2018-19 Jones had the third most sacks in the league with 15.5 which earned him Second Team All-Pro. This following year Jones had nine sacks in 13 games and was a crucial piece to their Super Bowl run.
Following the season the Chiefs decided to franchise tag Jones for $16.1 million. Their original intension was to put Jones on the trade block and see what they could receive as compensation much like they did with Dee Ford the previous offseason. But the team decided to hold onto Jones instead.
However, Jones has not signed his franchise tender yet with the deadline approaching and threatens to hold out. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo Jones expects an extension worth $20 million a year or he won’t play. Jones later tweeted “Le’Veon Bell told me about this”. Bell is the face of the player holdout movement because he refused to play the entire 2018-19 season because the Pittsburgh Steelers did not give him an extension.
Losing Jones for an entire season or longer would be monumental for the Chief’s chances of returning to the Super Bowl. After seeing the Chiefs prioritize Mahomes over him Jones is likely losing patience with the team while being happy for his teammate. Since there is only so much money to go around the Chiefs could once again consider moving Jones for draft compensation or offer him a short term extension in the meantime until they figure out a long term solution to the problem.
What do Tryann Mathieu, Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz and Travis Kelce have in common? They were a part of the 2019-20 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl team, they are some of if not the best players at their individual positions and they are free agents in 2022. That is also the same year where Mahomes contract starts and he will have a $31.4 million cap hit.
All of these players make great cases to be extended and a part of the team’s long term future, after Mahomes extension only so many of them can receive fair compensation for their level of play by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Though he has only been there one season, Mathieu has already become a leader within that locker room and a vital piece of their defense. If Jones does not return to the team Mathieu is by far their best defensive player.
Fisher was taken first overall in 2013 and has played at an above average level making one Pro Bowl appearance. However, that might not be enough and Fisher could be the most likely to part ways in the group.
Schwartz has been one of the most slept on players in recent years being named an All-Pro in each of the past four seasons. He is one of the best right tackles in football but will he decline when he is a free agent at age 33? If not what kind of deal would the veteran tackle get from the team and could he get more on the open market?
If only one player could stay with the team that year most fans would choose Kelce to stay. He has become a fan favorite and is arguably the best tight end in football. Mahomes would not be the quarterback he is today without a player like Kelce at his disposal. However, after seeing Rob Gronkowski later in his career does it makes sense to extend a tight end like Kelce at age 32 with so many other valuable free agents hitting the market?
Each of these players has great cases to be extended over the others and remain on the team and the team doesn’t have to make a decision yet. However, the Mahomes extension has set the inevitable that the team will have to choose between four of their most valuable player.
After Mahomes won MVP in his second season in the league and his first full one as a starter, Lamar Jackson followed suit doing the same. Jackson broke the record for most rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback with 1,206 (previously held by Michael Vick with 1,089 in 2006). He carried the Ravens to 12 straight victories and finished the year with a 14-2 record until they were upset by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens still have Lamar Jackson under contract for three more seasons. But if Jackson keeps up the production and could carry the Ravens further in the playoffs he could be in line for a bigger extension than Mahomes.
If Jackson could shake the label that he chokes in the playoffs and gets the Ravens near the Super Bowl, that could be enough for Jackson to demand a 10-year extension as well. That sounds great for Jackson, however, will the Ravens be comfortable giving that long of an extension to a quarterback who gets hit a lot and relies a lot on his mobility. Previously quarterbacks like Robert Griffen III, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck careers have completely derailed because of their play styles.
There is no doubting Jackson’s talent after what he did this past year. But next offseason rumblings will start questioning where is Jacksons 10-year extension and whether he is worthy of one or not. The only way the Ravens could be comfortable with it is if they agree on a smaller percentage of guaranteed money like Mahomes’ contract currently has. Mahomes is only guaranteed to make 31 percent of his entire contract which is the smallest among players making $25 million a year or over according to ESPN’s Molly Qerim.