NFL

Does Patrick Mahomes Deserve to Be the Highest-Paid Athlete Ever?

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes may be the best quarterback in the NFL right now, and coming off the big win at Super Bowl LIV — including winning the game’s MVP award — only helps cement the argument in his favor. The Chiefs still have Mahomes under team control for a team-friendly price for up to two more seasons, as he is still on his rookie contract.

That is going to change sooner than later, though, and the Chiefs will either have to pay him big bucks or lose him to a team that will. Mahomes could become the highest-paid athlete ever in professional sports. Does he deserve that?

Patrick Mahomes’ NFL career

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Patrick Mahomes did something that not many quarterback prospects do nowadays, sit out the majority of his rookie season. That may have helped in his development, as he came out strong in his first full season as a starter in 2018.

He threw for more than 5,000 yards and joined elite company with 50 touchdown passes in the season. Only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had done it previously, and Manning was the only other quarterback with 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in the same season.

As you would expect, those numbers earned Mahomes league MVP honors that season, which doesn’t happen often in a player’s first season as a starter.

A contract extension looming

NFL rookie contracts run for four seasons, with a fifth-year team option. Patrick Mahomes is entering his fourth season in the league, which means he has no more than two seasons left on the deal.

In 2020, he’s due to make about $2.7 million, including bonuses, which is a bargain for the Chiefs. If they pick up his option for 2021, he would make roughly $25 million that season. The Chiefs are going to have to pay him, the question is when. Do they want to do it this offseason or wait another year?

The longer they wait, the higher the chance that Mahomes decides to holdout. And in the unlikely event they wait until after the 2021 season, Mahomes would be a free agent and other teams would be able to pursue him, which would only drive up the price for Kansas City.

With people already speculating that Mahomes could sign a deal that pays him $40 million annually, the Chiefs likely don’t want to do anything that would give Mahomes leverage to negotiate even more money, so expect a deal to get done no later than next offseason.

Does Patrick Mahomes deserve to be the highest-paid athlete?

If Patrick Mahomes gets the projected $40 million yearly salary, it would make him the highest-paid athlete in U.S. pro sports. So does he deserve that distinction? Yes, he does.

He is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now, and that is the most important position in sports. The quarterback has a bigger impact on his team than any other position in professional sports. That often results in teams paying a premium to keep their quarterback happy.

Russell Wilson is currently the highest-paid player in the league, with an average salary of $35 million. Mahomes is several years younger than the 31-year-old Wilson and deserves a higher salary than him.

When you look at other sports, there are four players in Major League Baseball — Gerrit Cole, Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon — with annual salaries of at least $35 million. They are MLB’s highest-paid players. Does Mahomes deserve to make more than them? Quite simply, yes.

A quarterback has a bigger impact on his team’s games than any baseball player could. Trout is the best player in baseball, and his Angels have only made the playoffs once in his career, and they got swept. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl title in his second season as the starter. Pay the man his money.