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Mahomes' unique talents make him worth giant price tag

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Omnisport
NEWS
Modified 07 Jul 2020, 05:14 IST
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The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a record-setting 10-year contract extension worth over $500million on Monday.  

The deal will keep Mahomes, arguably the NFL's brightest young star, in Kansas City through the 2031 season. According to Spotrac, the contract is the richest ever both in terms of total value and average annual salary at a reported $503m – including $477m in guaranteed mechanisms.

Going forward, the Chiefs' front office will be tasked with surrounding the reigning Super Bowl MVP and 2018 NFL MVP with cheaper talent as Mahomes' average salary skyrockets.

While some pundits have questioned the ability of teams to win Super Bowls with a quarterback on a massive contract, the torrid start to Mahomes' career indicates he may be the exception.  

When the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February, he became just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to be named league MVP, win a Super Bowl and be named Super Bowl MVP in a two-year span.  

All the other five quarterbacks to accomplish that feat – Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Kurt Warner – are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

Despite all that he has accomplished, Mahomes' career is still in its infancy with the former first-round pick set to turn 25 in his third full year as a starter in 2020.  

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Mahomes' 9,412 passing yards, 76 touchdown passes and 108.9 passer rating are all the best in league history for a quarterback in his first 31 games. His 17 games of at least 300 passing yards are the second most through 31 games, trailing only Kurt Warner's 20.  

While Mahomes' numbers last season were not quite as gaudy as they were in his 50-touchdown 2018 campaign, an argument can be made that he improved in his second year as a full-time starter.  

The biggest concern teams had with him in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech was his aggressiveness leading to too many turnovers. While his 50 touchdowns in 2018 more than made up for the 12 interceptions he threw, Mahomes cut his interception total to just five last season. His 2019 interception rate of just over 1.0 percent is among the 10 lowest ever in a season with at least 25 touchdown passes.  

While head coach Andy Reid's system has proven to be the perfect incubator for Mahomes early in his career, last season he showed the ability to be productive despite some attrition around him.  

The departure of Kareem Hunt left a rotating stable of running backs in 2019 with no top-level producer emerging as the leader. Injuries to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins led to Mahomes working with a variety of unexperienced receivers throughout the year. 

Mahomes himself suffered an injury that cost him two games, yet the Chiefs still finished the regular season 12-4 with a division title.  

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But perhaps no ability makes Mahomes more unique – or worthy of a record-breaking contract – than his ability to score in bunches.  

Three times since becoming the Chiefs' starter, Mahomes has thrown at least three touchdowns in a single quarter, more than any other NFL quarterback since 2018. On September 15 last season, Mahomes threw four scores in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders, the first time that had been done in nearly five years.  

Mahomes threw for the first postseason four-touchdown quarter since 1988 in last season's playoffs when he helped Kansas City turn a 24-0 deficit into a 51-31 blowout win over the Houston Texans.  

He went on to throw two touchdown passes and led the Chiefs to 21 straight points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, giving Kansas City their first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years.  

Fast-forward five months and Mahomes now has the richest contract in NFL history as his storybook career continues.  

Some will still argue that the price tag is too high – that history shows the Chiefs will struggle to field a balanced team around their superstar quarterback.  

But history has never seen a quarterback quite like Patrick Mahomes.  

Published 07 Jul 2020, 05:14 IST
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