Patrick Mahomes gave the sports world a cornucopia of content by signing his record-breaking half-billion dollar deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. ESPN's Jeff Darlington went on Get Up today to discuss the monster deal and revealed that, in discussions with sources around the league, the common train of thought was that Mahomes could have gotten more out of Kansas City.
Yes. More than the $503 million he signed for.
Five hundred million dollars is already a mind-boggling sum, and Darlington means to tell us Mahomes didn't squeeze the Chiefs for every penny they've got?
There are two ways to interpret this: either Mahomes could have gotten a bigger overall contract, or he could have secured more guaranteed money. The latter aspect is complicated. Mahomes currently has $477 million in "guarantee mechanisms" which means the money is guaranteed, but only if the Chiefs exercise the "mechanism" each offseason. So, in the likely scenario they do just that, he has $477 million in the bank come 2031.
It is hard to imagine Mahomes getting more than that, but he had all the leverage. If he was willing to tack even more years onto the deal, he could have guaranteed north of $500 million for himself. He also could have tried to maximize his earning potential and sign a regular four-year deal worth something like $200 million with a $50 million yearly salary, and then done that a few more times. That would have hamstrung the Chiefs salary-cap wise, but they were in no position to say no.
To sum it up, there were ways for Mahomes to make more, but the deal he signed appeared to be the best of both worlds. He's in Kansas City for the long-term, the Chiefs can put talent around him without his salary taking up half the cap sheet, and he's guaranteed nearly half a billion dollars barring something unforeseen. Darlington is likely right that he could have gotten more, but Mahomes would have had to give up either long-term security or the team's flexibility. Luckily for Kansas City, he cared about the latter as much as the former.