Mahomes is the real deal even at $500m
Patrick Mahomes has signed a 10-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs worth $450million (£360million). When confronted by such an eye-popping amount for a mere sports professional it is fashionable to come across all incredulous and offended and ask: “Jeez, how many hospitals could you build for that?”
Thanks to the recent Nightingale Project, we can provide a definitive answer: 11.5 hospitals. Give or take a few ICUs. In fact, we could probably stretch it to 13, as the details of the Mahomes deal – which are still being dissected by that ever-growing band of sports business analysts – stipulate that the 24-year-old quarterback will receive half a billion dollars by 2031. Minimum.
“Show me the money,” Rod Tidwell famously screamed at Jerry Maguire. “Well, I would if I could,” would be Leigh Steinberg’s reply. “But I cannot possibly fit that much into your field of vision.”
Steinberg was the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s agent in Cameron Crowe’s 1996 film and this latest “10 per cent miracle” suggests a sequel should be in the pipeline. Once the undisputed king of sports representation, Steinberg tumbled from grace, but then staged a comeback, as he reforged his reputation as the honest dealmaker the superstars could trust.
This contract – the biggest in professional sports, crushing baseball player Mike Trout’s $426million over 12 years at the LA Angels – is Steinberg’s crowning glory and is also a very proud moment for American football: this is the first time the NFL can claim the single largest deal. Baseball be damned. And the Premier League? Pah! Chicken feed.
Goodness knows what Matt Hancock makes of it all, although again this pandemic means we actually do know what our Health Secretary makes of it all. To paraphrase the great man’s football rant: “Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and died, I think the first thing Patrick Mahomes can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play his part.”
Yet maybe we should change the habit of a lockdown and not be too
Mahomes has the players around him to lift multiple Super Bowls and remain a standout player if the Chiefs have to rebuild
harsh on Hancock, because this is simply the way those financial “experts” outside sport regard young men who amass their fortunes on the fields of our dreams, rather than those exchanges of our nightmares.
All that matters is that the Chiefs believe Mahomes to be worth it and the Super Bowl victory in February suggests they know their generational players from their boy wonders. And in truth, when broken down, the figures are not that mind-blowing. Russell Wilson is on a similar pro-rata deal with the Seattle Seahawks; but in Mahomes’s case it is the length of the term that is unprecedented. Essentially, this is a baseball contract and, on the faceguard of it, does not appear to make much sense in the more violent and volatile world of American football.
But look further and think bigger: Mahomes has the surrounding cast to lift multiple Super Bowls in the early part of this deal, and remain a standout player in his prime if the Chiefs have to rebuild. He is already on a trajectory to be up there with John Elway and Dan Marino and will thus attract other players and, of course, lure so many more eyeballs to Arrowhead Stadium.
To top it all, Mahomes is a great kid; his father was a Major League Baseball hero; he is the face of the NFL. So as grotesque as it might have first appeared, this is a sensible agreement and anybody who has seen and watched Scottie Pippen get screwed with his own long-term settlement by the Chicago Bulls will not begrudge Mahomes a cent. Even if there are 50 billion of them.
Path to greatness: Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes has the talent to be worth every penny of his new contract with the NFL side