Man, oh man. What a deal.
My prediction on Patrick Mahomes signing a 10 year deal worth roughly $375 million fell way short.
The Chiefs amped it up big time. They handed out the first potential half billion contract in sports history to their franchise quarterback. This is a contract you never see in sports let alone the NFL. Signing players to 10 year deals is a rarity in the NFL. Mahomes became the sixth player to do it (all QBs).
The total price on his 10 year deal is $503 million with $477 guaranteed, sort of. They are calling it “guaranteed mechanisms.” Long story and complicated contract short, the Chiefs have flexibility with the deal while Mahomes has the world by the ass to make the money. Despite how it looks on the surface, the deal is a huge win for both parties.
There is also a $140 million injury payout essentially.
The initial reaction to people seeing the contract is “how on Earth can the Chiefs afford to put talent around him?”
There are two realities we need to talk about to answer that. The first is the salary cap and the second is how it impacts the market.
The current salary cap is set at $198.2 million in 2020. That is a $10 million uptick from 2019. That makes the seventh consecutive year where the cap rises more than $10 million. For a point of reference, the salary cap was $120 million in 2011.
Because of that continued rise in salary cap, we see this often across every position in the league. Someone gets paid and then three years later, they become underpaid for their play.
For example, Falcons receiver Julio Jones was grossly underpaid prior to his extension last September. He signed a 5 year deal worth a hair north of $71 million in 2015. Because of the rise in the cap, he fell accordingly as receivers starting collecting heftier deals.
By 2017, he was the fifth highest paid receiver behind Tavon Austin, Larry Fitzgerald, Dez Bryant and Deandre Hopkins. In 2018, he wasn’t even in the top 10 highest paid. It was set to be the same in 2019 before signing another short extension.
Up until the emergence of Michael Thomas, the only receiver who could hold a torch toe to toe with Julio in recent years is Hopkins. Therefore, the notion he was grossly underpaid holds water.
The deal essentially guarantees that Mahomes will be paid accordingly versus having to re-negotiate every three years. Prior to this contract being signed, the highest paid QB in the league was Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, who was making an average of $35 million per season. If Mahomes were to make every single dollar of the $503 million. That number would be $50.3 million per year.
Long story short, the Chiefs jumped ahead of the market. Now teams like Houston and Dallas can pay their quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott accordingly. Those two should both be in the range of $36-40 million per season. At the end of the day, the amount per season will continue to rise thus putting teams in the same bind of putting talent around the quarterback.
After getting the discussion of the market out of the way, the next question on the agenda is whether or not Mahomes is worth it?
That guy could walk into to my office (if I was an owner) and I would hand him a blank check and say “name your price.” This isn’t even a question.
I have already stated that Wilson is the second highest paid QB at $35 million. Based on the max value of the deal, is Mahomes worth $15 million more than Wilson? Yes. Without a doubt. When I wrote my top 10 QBs several weeks ago, there were two certainties for that list. Mahomes one and Wilson two, however, Mahomes got the nod by a mile. He is hands down the most talented QB the league has ever seen.
I remember watching Aaron Rodgers in the early 2010s and thinking no one is ever going to touch him in terms of arm talent. Enter Patrick Mahomes.
In just two years as a starter, he staked his claim as THE best quarterback in the league, period.
By the Numbers (Career)
*Note One Start in 2017*
- 24-7 as Starter
- 65.9 Comp %
- 9,412 Yards
- 303.6 Yards Per Game (On Pace for 1st All Time)
- 8.6 Yards Per Attempt
- 76 TDs
- 18 INTs
- 4.2 TD to INT Ratio
- 108.9 QB Rating (On Pace for 1st All Time)
- 3 4th Quarter Comebacks
- 4 Game Winning Drives
- 4-1 Record
- Super Bowl MVP
- Super Bowl Champion
- 2 AFC Championship Appearences
- Chiefs Scored at least 31 in all 5 games.
- 35.8 Points Per Games
- 62.5 Comp%
- 1,474 Yards
- 294.8 Yards Per Game
- 8.0 Yards Per Attempt
- 13 TDs
- 2 INTs
- 6.5 TD to INT Ratio
- 106.6 QB Rating (On Pace for 1st All Time)
- 1 4th Quarter Comeback (Super Bowl)
- 1 Game Winning Drive (Super Bowl)
In 2018, Mahomes became the second QB to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 TDs in the same season. He captured an MVP with flying colors in his debut season because of that.
He was on pace for another 5,000 yard season in 2019 before his injury. Heading into week 7, he had already compiled 2,104 yards (350.7 ypg). He was on pace to throw for over 5,600 yards.
Since taking over, Mahomes has led the Chiefs to the most points in the NFL by a margin of 54 total points. They average 32.2 points per game with him as their starter (excluding two missed starts last season). As a point of reference, the Chiefs averaged 25.1 points per game the two years prior to Mahomes taking over. They were par for the course in the two games he missed averaging 25.0 points in those two, scoring 24 and 26 respectively.
Mahomes isn’t just great in the regular season, he has some of the best playoff numbers among QBs historically thus far. In the 2019 playoff, we saw Mahomes get down in all three games before finding his magic.
The Chiefs got smoked in the first quarter against the Texans in the Divisional Round 21-0. Mahomes threw 4 of his 5 TDs in the second quarter to march the Chiefs back 28-24. They ended up smoking the Texans 51-31. Once he found his groove, game over.
We saw it happen again in the AFC Championship against the hottest team in the postseason, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans jumped out 10-0 before Mahomes started working his magic. He threw 2 TDs to Tyreek Hill and ran a TD on a 27 yard scamper to take a 21-17 lead heading into halftime. The second half, the Chiefs once again dominated with a final score of 35-24.
Once again, we saw a more dramatic version of this in the Super Bowl. The 49ers defense had Mahomes looking human in the first 3.5 quarters. The Chiefs were down 20-10 with 8:53 to go.
Prior to the last three drives of the Super Bowl, the Chiefs were 3 of 10 on third down. They ended up converting all three of their third down attempts on those three drives including a 3rd and 15.
As for Mahomes, he went into those last three drives 18 of 30 for 172 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He finished the game 8 of 12 for 114 yards and 2 TDs. The Chiefs ended up sealing the win 31-20.
His entire playoff run, there was a sense of certainty that once he got hot, good luck stopping him. Two years in, he’s an MVP, Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl MVP with 2 Conference Championship appearances.
Diving further into the dominance of Mahomes. Let’s take a look at some situational metrics as well as his deep ball.
- Throwing the Deep Ball
To be clear, throwing a “deep ball” in the NFL is a ball traveling 21 or more yards in the air. There is no denying the arm strength of Mahomes as he has arguably the strongest in the NFL. Over the last two seasons, Mahomes has been exceptional pushing the ball downfield hence the pile up in yards.
On his career, Mahomes is completing 48% of deep passes for 2,612 yards. He averages 18.3 yards per attempt. 23 of these passes have been touchdowns as opposed to only 5 interceptions. One of the most fun parts of his deep ball is moving the defense with his eyes before firing to an open receiver across his body like the clip below. For the record, it was 4th and 9 when he did that.
- 3rd Down
The Chiefs are number one in third down conversions over the last two seasons converting 46.4%. In fact, they are the only team to rank in the top three both years. Furthermore, they are one of three teams to rank in the top 10 both years.
Mahomes completes 62% of third down passes on his career with 21 TDs to only 5 INTs. He also uses his feet to his advantage with 23 rush attempts on third, 16 of which for first downs. He averages 7.1 yards on third down scrambles.
Just to share this because it’s rather good…he has a perfect 158.3 rating on 4th down. He is 6 for 6 for 126 yards with 2 TDs and 6 First Downs.
- Pressure or Blitz
Keep in mind, pressure and blitz are two different scenarios. A blitz is sending extra defenders to generate a pass rush. More often than not, a quarterback’s success against the blitz is determined more so by pre-snap. At this point in the NFL, you’re not starting if you suck against the blitz. Of course, some are better than others.
Pressure is a better measurement for success than the blitz. A pressure is someone is forcing a QB to make a quick decision and throw basically. The NFL average passer rating against pressure is in the mid 70s.
Mahomes excels against both. Although pressure throws are much harder stats to find without paying for them. In 2019, Mahomes finished the regular season with a 90.4 rating, 1,170 yards with 12 TDs to 3 INTs.
For his career against the blitz, Mahomes completes 64.8% of his passes for 1,991 yards with 18 TDs and 0 INTs. That gives him a QB rating of 119.0. He has yet to throw an interception against the blitz in his career. The only QB who is better against the blitz the last two seasons is Drew Brees.
- On the Road
One of the elements of Tom Brady that made him so damn good was winning on the road and being good on the road. Mahomes is not only good, he’s better on the road. No matter where he plays, good luck. That makes him a very dangerous man.
As a point of reference here are his home numbers compared to the road (home/road)…
- 11-3 / 13-4 Record
- 65.3% / 66.4% Comp
- 292.5 / 312.8 Yards Per Game
- 8.4 / 8.7 Yards Per Attempt
- 30 / 46 TDs
- 9 / 9 INTs
- 3.3 / 5.1 TD to INT Ratio
- 104.4 / 112.5 QB Rating
Take a look at the above. It speaks volumes and speaks for itself. He is a road warrior.
Much like the blitz, the numbers for QBs in the redzone are solid across the board. For all intents and purposes, it is not a net positive when teams get inside the 20 and come away with field goals. The scoring percentage is determined by paydirt meaning six on the board. Based on teams that score touchdowns at the highest percentage, Kansas City is ranked 1st the last two years combined at 66.5%. The second place team is the Indianapolis Colts at 65.7%.
Even with the down year scoring 60.0% in 2019 (11th in the league), they still finish first overall since Mahomes took over.
In the redzone, Mahomes has thrown 46 touchdowns and ran 4 more in to only 2 interceptions. He is second in touchdowns behind Russell Wilson with 48.
The only QB who has a higher TD to INT ratio in the redzone over the last two seasons i Saints’ Drew Brees with a 40 to 1 ratio compared to Mahomes’ 23 to 1.
Is He Worth Every Dollar?
In two years, he knocked the NFL on it’s ass. He legitimately has a shot to eventually be the GOAT out of the gate. He could end up in the discussion before his damn extension ends.
He is the scrambling ability of Russell Wilson. He is the arm of Aaron Rodgers. He is the leader and situational moxie of Brady. I won’t say the accuracy to Brees because that is a stretch. He literally possesses three of the NFL’s most winning QBs dominant traits.
Someone basically created a 99 juggernaut in Madden and threw him on the Chiefs. Mahomes is the past, present and future of the league. So yes. He is worth every fucking dollar of that deal.