Patrick Mahomes Least Likely to Be First Billionaire NFL Quarterback Despite His $450M Worth KC Chiefs Contract

Published 12/14/2023, 6:00 AM EST

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Patrick Mahomes has made history in multiple ways since joining the big league. The most obvious example of this is his $450-million, 10-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t forget that he took the Chiefs to three Super Bowls since 2020. He is the only quarterback after Tom Brady to have reached such heights in his career while he was young.

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Enter Shohei Ohtani, a 29-year-old Japanese legend who signed a 10-year, $700-million deal with the LA Dodgers recently. Ohtani’s contract is the largest one in pro sports history so far. Since the NFL is not short of money, the question is whether Mahomes can cross this threshold.

Can Patrick Mahomes become the first billion-dollar QB?

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The answer to this question might become apparent with time. For now, many things will decide whether the QB will get a contract higher than what he already has. The 10-year deal doesn’t hold much weight, as an agreement is valued based on guaranteed money. Second, during his 10-year tenure, the Chiefs may decide to trade him, or he may suffer a season-ending injury, which might introduce some complications with his payout.

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Another reason why the contract is so dependent on variables is because the QB is 28 years old, and his productivity might take a hit with age. However, there is a silver lining: the NFL has struck a deal with TV networks to help the league increase the salary cap to about $300 million. So technically, Mahomes can re-negotiate the terms of his contract, and per some sources, Mahomes may get his contract re-negotiated in 2027.

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There is a flip side to this as well because the salary cap, once increased, will again be fixed for a decade, and Mahomes getting more money will depend on whether he can win another Super Bowl. So, the chances of him getting a billion-dollar contract are minuscule. However, this might not be the case with Shohei Ohtani.

The nuances of Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million deal

Jeff Passan of ESPN spoke to Juana Summers of NPR about the details of Ohtani’s contract and broke it down so that most people can understand it. Summers asked him, “Help us unpack this because, I mean, when I read this headline that he’d inked this $700 million deal, my first impression was, that is a heck of a lot of money. And my second question was, is he actually worth it? Can you address both of those?”

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Passan explained the contract in its entirety by saying, “It was a heck of a lot of money – more than any other athlete in professional sports history had been guaranteed. And there was a reason for a number that big. It’s because the Dodgers are not going to be paying 680 million of it for another decade plus. And Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, Juana, allows for an unlimited amount of money to be deferred so long as a player is willing to do so.

He added, “And as we know, there’s a very simple tenet in economics — a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Well, a dollar today is worth a lot more than a dollar 10 years from now. So that $700 million number — in reality, it’s more like $450 million in net present value, and that’s the number that Major League Baseball, in its accounting, is going to use.”

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Given this analysis, Mahomes has a lot of roadblocks to overcome because a contract’s value is determined by guaranteed money, and it is paid out over time. Ohtani has reached a gigantic milestone in his six-year career, and Patrick Mahomes is still not there. The road to a billion is a far-fetched idea as of now.

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Written by:

Abhinav Prakash

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Shubhankar Adhikari

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