Patrick Mahomes, who will make his first Super Bowl appearance Sunday afternoon, has a contract that’s worth about $4 million per season. He signed a four-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs after he was drafted; the deal was worth quite a bit more than that of other National Football League (NFL) rookie contracts. But at the same time, other first-round draft picks have gotten considerably juicier deals. Plus, barring a major decline in his abilities, being beset by injuries, or major personal conduct issues, once he’s out of his current contract, he’ll be in a position to negotiate for considerably more money.
Mahomes’ contract is, like that of a lot of NFL contracts, a bit more complicated than what the raw numbers reveal.
Mahomes Was Drafted 10th Overall In The 2017 NFL Draft
Following a stellar college career at Texas Tech, it was widely expected that Mahomes would be a first-round draft pick, possibly even the second overall pick in the draft, which would have made him the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback. The Bears, however, went with Mitchell Trubitsky, and Mahomes was drafted eight spaces down the list, No. 10, by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Still, though he was drafted later than expected to be, he still got a generous contract by the standards of NFL rookies.
Mahomes’ Contract Is Worth $4 Million Per Year On Average
According to Spotrac, Mahomes’ contract is somewhat complex.
When he signed on with the Chiefs, Mahomes penned a deal that would pay him $16,425,786, which included a signing bonus of $10,086,026. Prorated over the four years of his deal, that works out to a signing bonus of about $2.5 million per year.
As the NFL explains on its contract glossary, the prorating allows the Chiefs to schedule Mahomes’ money in a way that doesn’t exceed the salary cap. Most signing bonuses are fully paid out to the player within 12 to 18 months of signing the contract.
His base salary, which was $465,000 in 2017, $555,000 in 2018, $645,000 in 2019, and will be $735,000 in 2020, may seem paltry by NFL standards (Kirk Cousins’ base salary is $27.5 million per year), but it’s more than made up for in bonuses.
In addition to his prorated signing bonus for each of the four years on his contract, he also gets a roster bonus each year, excluding his 2017 rookie year. In 2018, that roster bonus was $656,635; in 2019, it was $1,313,270. For 2020, it will be $1,969,905.
A roster bonus is, essentially, a check paid to the player at a certain date in the season, which can be used as leverage in trade negotiations.
Mahomes’ Contract Is Guaranteed
Every last penny of Mahomes’ contract is guaranteed. That means that, failing major personal conduct issues or other matters that would compel the Chiefs to end his contract prematurely, the only way he would lose money is if he were suspended. What’s more, his base contract is so low that, if he were to be suspended, he’d lose comparatively little money.
A player who is suspended forfeits 1/17th of their base salary for every game they’re suspended. So if Mahomes were to be suspended for, say, one game in the 2020 season, he’d only forfeit $43,235.
Following the 2020 season, Mahomes will be a free agent. He will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 season.