Ma­homes is the real deal even at $500m

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - James Cor­ri­gan The Last Dance

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

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