Why Mahomes Should Enter Contract Negotiations Like Brady

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In order for Patrick Mahomes to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps on the field, he must first follow in his footsteps with his paycheck.

Patrick Mahomes is on top of the football world. He is 24, just won his first Super Bowl, and is considered to be the next great quarterback. He will be a free agent in 2022, and has all the leverage in the world. He should, without a doubt, get a record-setting contract. But would it be the best move for his legacy?

For 99% of players, contract negotiations are all about getting the best benefits and the most money possible. These players are just trying to provide for their families by getting what they can. That top 1% is going to get ridiculous amounts of money regardless, and they have their pick of teams, so they can focus more on winning and legacy than the dollars.

Of that 1%, most still don’t consider winning and legacy, and just want the most money. A rare few will take a pay cut in order to have a better team around them. The prime example of this is Tom Brady.

Tom Brady is widely considered to be the best quarterback ever. Not everyone believes this, but that’s a story for another time. As the best player, he should logically be the highest-paid player in the league. But instead, he is the 13th-highest paid quarterback in the league, just below Alex Smith and just above Joe Flacco. That makes no sense, right?

The reason Tom Brady is making a very-average-for-a-quarterback $23 million a year is because he negotiates his contracts to help the Patriots. Sure, the Patriots could’ve broken the bank to keep him, but then they wouldn’t have enough money to sign pieces to surround him, therefore having a worse team. Brady wanted to win, so he took a discount, and Bill Belichick took that extra money and built multiple Super Bowl teams.

Patrick Mahomes is now the top quarterback in the NFL. He has one Super Bowl. He will need a few more to be considered the Greatest Of All Time. The Chiefs have a plethora of weapons around him, like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Chris Jones, and Tyrann Mathieu.

Kelce is currently getting just over $9 million a year, and will also be a free agent on 2022. Tyreek Hill is being paid $18 million per year, and will be a free agent in 2023. Mecole Hardman is still on his rookie deal. The Chiefs just placed their franchise tag on Chris Jones, and signed Tyrann Mathieu to a 3 year, $42 million deal. All of those players are probably being paid less than their actual value, other than Mathieu. The Chiefs will have to pay up to keep those players. It would be impossible to do that if they have to spend almost $40 million a year on Patrick Mahomes.

The sustained success of the Patriots dynasty has obviously been because of the talents of Brady and Belichick, but Brady taking multiple pay cuts has been a huge reason for Belichick being able to showcase his talent-finding expertise. He still could have found those players, but wouldn’t have been able to pay them.

You need 53 players to fill out an NFL roster. You need 22 starters. You need 11 people on the field at a time. Paying one player almost $40 million, no matter how much of an impact he has on the game, limits your ability to build a team.

If Mahomes wants to take Tom Brady’s title as the G.O.A.T., his wallet might have to be a little lighter. He is in a rare space. Only a privileged few get to take less money. He gets to choose between legacy and money. Before Patrick Mahomes enters his contract negotiations, he should take notes from Brady.