The Kansas City Chiefs just gave about a bajillion dollars to Patrick Mahomes, who in his first two seasons as a starter has been either the league or Super Bowl MVP. That’s a pretty good start. You can slice the deal he got any way you want to, but the fact is he got a whole lot of money.
Who’s next? Lamar Jackson was picked about a couple dozens spots after Mahomes was, one year later, but he also has an MVP title under his belt, although he is 0-2 in the postseason. Mahomes threw for over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his MVP season. Jackson threw 36, with a little over 3000 passing yards, but he also rushed for over 1200 and seven more touchdowns.
So what was his reaction to seeing Mahomes get paid? “I’ve got to win me a Super Bowl”, was the first thing out of his mouth while speaking to Sage Steele with ESPN yesterday. “I’ve got to get where he’s at”.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) July 14, 2020
“It’s a crazy number. No one has ever dreamed about that”, he said of the $500 million-plus Mahomes’ deal could ultimately be worth. “You probably dreamed about that, but nobody ever expected that. Especially half a billion dollars. That’s different. He deserved it, though. He deserved it”.
Mahomes’ deal—excluding the two years he has remaining on his contract—averages over $45 million per season in new money over 10 years, starting in 2022. That is $10 million more per season than had been the previous record, with Russell Wilson being given an extension last year that came in at $35 million in new money.
The key for Jackson will be shifting into a more traditional passer if he wants to get that kind of money, because he is averaging over 150 rushes per season, which is…uh, a lot. He already owns the two seasons among quarterbacks with the most rushes in a single season at 146 at a rookie and 176 last year.
There have only been 29 seasons in NFL history in which a quarterback recorded 100 or more rushes in a season, and Cam Newton has seven of them. Michael Vick has five of them. Randall Cunningham, Russell Wilson, and Davey O’Brien in 1939-40 are the only other players to do it twice, in addition to Jackson.
The less likely path, of course, is that he figures out a way to make rushing 120-plus times per season sustainable. Newton has come the closest, but he is built better for that type of work, and even he has broken down some over the past couple of years.
The Ravens expect to put more on his plate—or rather his harm—in 2019 after they set an NFL record for the most rushing yards in a single season in league history. Jackson only attempted 401 passes, which in this era is very low. How will he perform when he’s called upon with greater frequency to throw?