KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ever since signing what at the time was the richest contract in NFL history, Patrick Mahomes has watched as his annual pay has slipped to seventh among the league’s quarterbacks.
Mahomes indicated Wednesday after the Chiefs concluded their first week of offseason practice that he didn’t find this development troubling.
“I’ve always said I worry about legacy and winning rings more than making money at this moment,” he said. “We see what’s going on around the league, but at the same time, I’ll never do anything that’s going to hurt us from keeping the great players around me. So it’s kind of teetering around that line.”
Mahomes became the NFL’s highest-paid player in summer 2020 when he signed a 10-year extension worth $450 million. No player has since topped that contract in terms of total value, but six other quarterbacks — including Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and, this offseason, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson — have passed Mahomes in average pay.
Mahomes could fall further down the salary list this summer if lucrative extensions are signed by Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, who are both eligible for long-term deals for the first time.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said earlier in the offseason that the Chiefs would look at sweetening Mahomes’ contract, although he gave no timetable. Mahomes’ current deal runs through 2031.
“You just want to do whatever to not hurt other quarterbacks [financially],” Mahomes said. “Whenever their contracts come up, you want to keep the bar pushing [higher].
“It’s not about being the highest-paid guy; it’s not about making a ton of money. I’ve made enough money where I’ll be set for the rest of my life. But at the same time, you got to find that line where you’re making a good amount of money but you’re still keeping a lot of great players around you so you can win these Super Bowls and you’re able to compete in these games.”
Mahomes said it was a difficult balance between the two.
“I think it is for all these guys,” he said. “I think you see the guys that are getting paid this last offseason — they’re trying to find that right spot.
“If you look at the greats in the league, they find that right spot where they’re getting paid a lot of money but at the same time keeping a lot of these great players around. … I understand you look at the team and you’ve got guys like Chris [Jones] and [L’Jarius] Sneed and even Travis [Kelce] — all these guys that you need to keep around you to have these great teams. But at the same time, you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”