The internet exploded on Monday when it was reported that the Kansas City Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to terms on a 10-year extension that could pay the Texas Tech product as much as $502 million.
While Mahomes has ascended to the top at the most important position in professional sports, the numbers were a little surprising. It is not too often that football players sign 10-year deals, and the contract is by far the largest deal in NFL history.
Kansas City will have to make tough decisions with the rest of its roster — most notably with star defensive tackle Chris Jones — but that cost is more than worth it for the Chiefs. Mahomes is truly a generational talent behind center, and the organization now has him locked up for the next decade.
What does this mean for the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas has a really good quarterback in their own organization. Sure, Dak Prescott is not on the level that Mahomes — who has already won MVP and led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl in his first three seasons in the league — is. Still, Prescott is a top-10 quarterback, at least, and is awaiting a new deal with the team that drafted him in the fourth-round in 2016.
While Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and other quarterbacks expecting contract extensions in the near future will likely not touch Mahomes’ deal, the news from Monday has to be music to their ears. At the very least, Mahomes resetting the QB market means that the floor for new deals is now raised.
The Ringer’s Kevin Clark mentioned just that in a piece regarding the big contract:
What happens to the next crop of superstar quarterbacks is another matter. Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson are due for deals and deserve a lot of money. Neither deserves nearly as much as Mahomes, which means this deal will likely break the years long trend of the highest-paid quarterback being the star who signed his deal most recently. Last season I suggested to Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff that the $30 million average annual value benchmark Matt Ryan broke would eventually be a bargain. He said it already was. “He’s going to be the top-paid quarterback, and before you know it, he’s not going to be the top-paid quarterback because that’s the way it goes,” Dimitroff said, characterizing how quarterback pay has developed over the last decade. Mahomes’s deal will likely be untouchable for a number of years, but it undoubtedly raised the price for all star quarterbacks. Russell Wilson and Jared Goff were the previous gold standards for long-term quarterback contracts, and each count about $30 million against the salary cap this year. The negotiations for Prescott and Watson now start much higher.
The quarterback market in the NFL has been well-covered over the years. The next quarterback that is due for a new deal, provided that is he a quality starter, generally gets the most money. Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr are two names that were once the richest players in league history, for instance.
With Mahomes receiving such an usual deal given the number of years committed to the signal-caller and the jaw-dropping amount of money, that might not stay true this time around when the next group of quarterbacks sign their deal. Still, the number certainly goes up in negotiations between the quarterback, the agent, and the front office.
Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott, come on down.....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 6, 2020
Prescott and the Cowboys have been negotiating since last year, but the two parties have yet to come to terms on an extension. Prescott and his team are reportedly wanting a shorter deal so that Prescott can hit the market again while still in his prime, while the Cowboys want control over the face of their franchise.
The most common numbers that have been thrown out for a new deal have been in the $35-$37 million ballpark. Which, before the Mahomes details were announced, would have made Prescott the highest paid player in football. Those numbers may have been on the higher end before, but could now be the floor in contract talks. While the Cowboys quarterback continues to wait for a new contract to sign, he has seen numerous other players at his position cash in:
Since Dak became eligible for a contract extension during the 2019 offseason we have seen quarterbacks like Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Russell Wilson all get new deals with their teams. The first two are clearly of more intriguing variety as Goff and Wentz are part of the same draft class as Prescott.
Nobody is here to say that Dak is on the same level as Mahomes, but the way that the market works, it is reasonable to conclude that Prescott’s number just got a little higher.
Prescott has proven to be a winning quarterback since entering the league — supported by his 40-24 record — has improved his mechanics each year, raised his game to another level throwing the football in 2019, and is ascending as a player. With Mike McCarthy’s success coaching the quarterback position, it is logical to believe Prescott will continue on that trend.
It remains to be seen on when the Cowboys will get a deal done with their star quarterback, but Prescott and his agent have to be smiling. The market was reset in a big way on Monday, and Dak Prescott and his wallet now have the opportunity to capitalize on that.