By late Sunday evening, Patrick Mahomes could become the most compelling figure in American sports.
Chances are the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott AND Jameis Winston are hoping he becomes exactly that.
A Mahomes-like performance in Super Bowl LIV will open the door to the biggest contract in NFL history. More importantly, it will also establish a crazy market for the above free agent quarterbacks. Granted, the Chiefs have said they are not sure this is the right time to extend Mahomes. And while fellow NFL owners would love to hide the Chiefs’ checkbook, Kansas City ownership knows the price for Mahomes will just keep going up. Bottom line, the time is very close.
All the while, good NFL quarterbacks will be pushed into the $30-million-a-season club.
John Elway’s best payday was $4.1 million in Denver.
Dan Marino had a high of $5-mill in Miami.
Brett Favre made $12 million playing with the Jets and Vikings.
Yes, it was a different time. But heading into next season, $30-million dollars a season could be the going rate for an established NFL starting quarterback.
The $30 Million Dollar Men
Most have no problem with Brady and Brees getting their paydays. If Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are each making more than $30-million shouldn’t Prescott?
See why the Buccaneers are gagging right now? If Mahomes ends up signing an extension that will pay him at least $40-million dollars as season, you don’t think Winston believes he’s worth at least $30-mill? And get this, the longer the Buccaneers wait the higher the price goes up.
You’ve heard the so-called experts, “Franchise him for next season!” OK, pay him $28-mill. If Winston responds with a season of 20-something picks, he’ll be demanding a new, long-term deal north of $35-million just for year one. And what’s worse, that will be the market.
The Money is There
Please understand, every NFL team can afford to pay their quarterback these salaries. But these figures eat up so much of the salary cap that they can’t build a roster long-term. This is why the NFL is all about the haves and the have-nots. You have a few highly-paid veterans and you’re banking you’ve found talent still on rookie deals.
Of the eight quarterbacks that have thrown for at least 5,000 yards in a season, only two did it in losing seasons. One was Drew Brees. The other?? Do you really need to ask?
It Goes Quick
The Buccaneers have some $90-million dollars in salary cap space. Bring back the majority of that defense, give Chris Godwin an extension, beef up the offensive line and is there enough to pay Jameis what he wants? Is Winston worth paying what Winston wants? Is there another quarterback that can give you just enough to win with the roster you want? What is your best chance of truly competing for a Super Bowl?
All questions the Buccaneers are asking over the next couple of months.
But just know this, after Sunday the price of paying a quarterback is going up. And you thought it was fun to watch the Super Bowl because of the matchup, Shakira and the commercials.