KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes was trying to walk a tightrope taking him three different directions while negotiating his revised contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, which effectively makes him the league's highest-paid player over the next four years.
Mahomes wanted to maximize his income. He wanted to leave salary cap space so the Chiefs could continue to surround him with championship talent. And he wanted to keep pushing the bar higher for other players seeking contracts around the league.
“You have to watch and see what's going on around the league and find that right spot,” Mahomes said Wednesday in his first comments since reworking his deal. “I think we found a good one in this negotiation we did to keep cap space to get other guys signed, but obviously I've got more money up front and we'll renegotiate when we get to the right time.”
Mahomes still has nine years left on his 10-year, $450 million contract, which set the standard for overall value when it was signed in 2020.
The revision essentially pushes some of the money from the last five seasons to the first four, giving him $210.6 million over that span — the most over any four seasons in NFL history.
Mahomes is due to make $56.85 million this season, $44.5 million next season, $50 million in 2025 and $56.76 million for the 2026 season, at which point the Chiefs and his representatives have agreed to meet again and discuss the future.
“You have a lot of great players that I want to be here so we can win a lot of Super Bowls,” Mahomes said. “I want to make a lot of money but I also want to win. You look back at players, and you look back at how they won and the perception of how they did things, and that's what I want to try to manage.”
The Chiefs are approaching an important point in the future of their burgeoning dynasty.
All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones is not under contract after this season, agreeing only to a reworked one-year deal to end his holdout last week. Left tackle Donovan Smith, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed are also staring ahead at the possibility of free agency, which means the Chiefs could have plenty of holes to fill before next season.
Then there are Pro Bowl center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and standout linebacker Nick Bolton, all of whom are eligible for contract extensions after the season — and all of whom will command a hefty price.
That is why the two-time league MVP placed so much importance on finding the right contract, not necessarily the richest one.
“I've always kind of liked it,” Mahomes said of the negotiating process. “If I didn't become an NFL player, I wanted to be a sports agent or work in sports marketing. I've always wanted to help players. I know I'm doing it a different way than some people, but I feel like it's the right way for me. ... Hopefully I'm giving us a chance to go out there and win football games as well.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who dealt with personnel decisions in Philadelphia but relinquished control of them in Kansas City, has marveled at the way Mahomes has kept an even keel even as the value of his contract has soared.
“He's not big on all of that. He just kind of moves through it like most things and wants to keep getting better,” Reid said, “and that is what he's doing. That's what makes him unique. You don't sit there and say, ‘Oh, he’s going to have a letdown.' You just say, ‘Hey, congrats,’ and keep moving. That's how he rolls. But I'm happy for him.”
In other news Wednesday, the Chiefs were missing several key players to injuries as they began practicing for Sunday's game against the Bears. Bolton is dealing with an ankle sprain and Gay has a bruised quadriceps, and while both of them went through an early walkthrough, neither of them were planning to practice.
Running back Isiah Pacheco is dealing with a bruised hamstring, Kadarius Toney with a sprained toe and fellow wide receiver and return specialist Richie James has an injured knee ligament that Reid acknowledged could keep him out for a while.
“Most of them are just day to day,” Reid said, “Richie might be a little bit longer.”
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