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The new Patrick Mahomes contract leaves analysis to the eye of the beholder

For most contracts, it’s easy to compare one to the other. The structures are similar. The methods are similar. The formulas are similar.

For the new Patrick Mahomes contract, there’s nothing easy when it comes to comparing it to other contracts.

The Mahomes deal, which was barely noticed because it landed on the Monday after the second full Sunday of 2023 games, is sharply different from the usual quarterback contract. It wasn’t a new contract or an extension. It was a shifting forward of future cash, laying the foundation for what both sides agree will be another adjustment of the ultra-long-term agreement after 2026.

As to many deals, there is some basis for different people to have different perspectives on the terms and quality of the contract. As to the Mahomes deal, there’s enough meat to allow opinions to differ sharply and dramatically.

On the pro side, Mahomes will pocket $210.6 million from 2023 through 2026. No one else will make more than that, barring further developments. Per a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Chiefs tried to reduce the cash in exchange for higher full guarantees. Mahomes rebuffed that approach, because he knows he’s not getting cut by the Chiefs. Guaranteed, non-guaranteed — he’s getting the money.

The deal also includes significant roster bonuses due every May. The goal is to give the Chiefs the flexibility to decide whether and to what extent the payment should be fully absorbed under the current year’s cap or restructured and spread over multiple years.

On the con side, and as one source who has closely studied the quarterback contracts pointed out, nothing is going to change the fact that, from 2020 through 2022, Mahomes pocketed only $63 million over the first three years of his second contract.

That figure (technically, $63.081 million) ranks 13th among all quarterbacks for the first three years of their second contracts. Earlier this month, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow signed a contract that pays $146.5 million over the first three years. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert gets $133.7 million. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, whose four-year, $160 million deal remains superior to the original Mahomes deal in many ways, gets $108.4 million.

And on and on it goes. From Kyler Murray to Lamar Jackson to Josh Allen to Daniel Jones to Deshaun Watson (twice) to Jared Goff (yoy) to Carson Wentz (double yoy) they each received more than Mahomes over the first three years of the second contract.

So, yes, Mahomes has a good deal now. But, no, the first three years of the original contract do not compare well to other quarterbacks, given that Mahomes remains the best of all of them.

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