In July 2020, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs shocked the NFL world with a 10-year contract extension. Let’s take a look at the structure of Mahomes’ contract and salary and how much he has guaranteed throughout the deal.
How much is Patrick Mahomes’ contract worth?
The “headline” cost of the deal is $450 million over 10 years. However, including the final two years of his rookie deal, the deal itself is actually worth $477.6 million over 12 years. Therefore, across the life of the deal, it is a 12-year contract worth $39.8 million per year.
Patrick Mahomes contract will potentially keep him with Kansas City until 2032
While this deal was advertised as a 10-year contract extension, it actually serves to keep Mahomes potentially under contract for 12 years. Entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, Mahomes had two years remaining on his deal. The Chiefs had already exercised his fifth-year option, meaning he was under contract through the 2021 season at least.
Patrick Mahomes has a way to make the contract extension worth more than $500 million
An additional pair of clauses in Mahomes’ contract makes it possible for him to earn another $25 million. Starting in 2022, Mahomes can earn an extra $2.5 million per year across the final 10 years. $1.25 million each year can be earned if he wins the MVP in any given season. Meanwhile, the other half can be earned if Mahomes leads the team to a victory in the AFC Championship Game.
Mahomes’ contract is light on salary but heavy on roster bonuses
If you were to look at Mahomes’ base salary, it does not seem that significant. In the first seven years, he only has a base salary above $5 million once. Across the life of the deal, he earns an average of $10.4 million per year in base salary. Of that $124.8 million in base salary, $85.5 million falls in the final three years of the deal.
However, the contract makes up for a lack of base salary by Mahomes getting big roster bonuses every season from 2021 onwards. The lowest of those roster bonuses is $13.9 million in 2031, with the highest being $49.4 million in 2027. Those roster bonuses essentially act as a yearly signing bonus for Mahomes at the start of the new league year.
How much did Mahomes get in guaranteed money?
On the face of it, this deal looks somewhat light in guaranteed money. Only $63.1 million is fully guaranteed at signing, with $10 million of that a signing bonus. The other guaranteed money is Mahomes’ base salary in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
As part of the contract extension, Patrick Mahomes has $141 million in injury guarantees. While these guarantee numbers may seem on the light side, the contract is structured to ensure Mahomes is protected for the majority of the deal.
The contract contains a clever structure of guarantees
There were many who were shocked that Mahomes only got around a third of the deal in guarantees, and less than 15 percent fully guaranteed at signing. However, the structure of the deal means that the Chiefs will struggle to release Mahomes without incurring big dead money charges.
Patrick Mahomes’ contract extension has a set of rolling guarantees
In order to protect Patrick Mahomes in the future, he and his agent, Leigh Steinberg, put together a clever system of rolling guarantees in the contract extension.
Through 2024, money in the contract guarantees two years in advance. In 2025, the roster bonus becomes guaranteed in 2023, with the remainder becoming guaranteed in 2024. In the final seven years of the deal, at least a portion of the following year’s salary becomes guaranteed a year in advance.
Here are the details of when each part of his contract becomes guaranteed and how much (per Spotrac; all third day of the league year unless stated).
- 2021: 2023 salary & roster bonus + workout bonus fully guarantees
- 2022: 2024 salary & roster bonus + workout bonus fully guarantees
- 2023: 2025 roster bonus + workout bonus fully guarantees
- 2024: 2025 salary + workout bonus fully guarantees
- 2025: 2026 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2026: 2026 salary + workout bonus, 2027 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2027: 2027 salary + workout bonus + 2028 salary + 2028 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2028: 2029 salary + workout bonus & 2029 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2029: 2030 salary & 2030 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2030: 2031 roster bonus fully guarantees
- 2031: 2031 base salary fully guarantees
Can the Chiefs trade Mahomes later in the deal?
Chances are, the Chiefs will not want to trade Patrick Mahomes during this contract extension. However, due to a combination of a small signing bonus and NFL rules, trading Mahomes will not leave the Chiefs with a large amount of dead money on their cap.
Mahomes’ signing bonus prorates across just five years
NFL contract rules mean that a signing bonus can be prorated across the next five years of the deal. Therefore, by the 2025 season, the signing bonus from Patrick Mahomes contract extension will no longer count against the cap. When a player is traded, all of the remaining prorated signing bonus accelerates onto the cap in the season he is traded. If Mahomes is traded after the 2024 season, he will leave no dead money with the Chiefs.
Additionally, the small signing bonus also helps if the Chiefs trade Mahomes before 2024. A $10 million signing bonus means that is the maximum he could have ever left with the Chiefs in dead cap.
What happens to the Chiefs’ salary cap if Mahomes retires?
The same is true if Mahomes were to retire during the deal. In the event of a player’s retirement, only the remaining prorated signing bonus remains on the team’s salary cap.
The structure of the contract is smart for the Chiefs for this reason
When a player signs a 10-year contract extension, there is always a chance he will retire during it. However, with the signing bonus only being able to prorate over five years, the length of the deal negates this danger. Had Patrick Mahomes signed a five-year contract extension in 2020 and then another one in 2027, the Chiefs likely would have given him another signing bonus in 2027. If he were then to retire during that deal, any remaining prorated signing bonus would accelerate onto the cap.
By giving Mahomes essentially a yearly signing bonus throughout his career in the form of a roster bonus, the Chiefs avoid any danger. When a player retires, any guaranteed money does not need to be paid. Therefore, if Mahomes retired in 2028, he would leave no dead money on the Chiefs’ salary cap.
This could change in the future if the Chiefs restructure Mahomes’ deal. In that instance, they would likely convert roster bonus and base salary into signing bonus, which would then prorate across up to five years.
What is the cap number for the Chiefs in each year of Patrick Mahomes’ contract extension?
Patrick Mahomes’ cap number fluctuates between $5.35 million and $59.95 million during the life of the contract. All numbers are correct according to Over The Cap as of January 23rd, 2021.
- 2020: $5.35 million
- 2021: $24.81 million
- 2022: $31.45 million
- 2023: $42.45 million
- 2024: $39.95 million
- 2025: $41.95 million
- 2026: $41.95 million
- 2027: $59.95 million
- 2028: $44.45 million
- 2029: $44.95 million
- 2030: $50.45 million
- 2031: $52.45 million
The numbers above do not include the $2.5 million in incentives if Mahomes either wins MVP or leads his team to the Super Bowl. If he meets those criteria, the money earned will be added to the following year’s cap number.