What the 49ers can learn from Patrick Mahomes from chefs and contracts with Chris Jones

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The Kansas City Chiefs rewarded the two most influential players for their Super Bowl LIV victory over the 49ers with huge contract extensions this offseason.

First, they gave quarterback Patrick Mahomes a record deal that could be worth up to $ 503 million. Then they would have signed an agreement with star defensive forward Chris Jones on another lucrative extension, a four-year contract of up to $ 85 million on Tuesday.

That’s a lot of dough for any off-season. In the midst of a global pandemic that is almost certain to cause a sharp drop in league revenue, it could seem short-sighted and downright stupid on the surface. But the Chiefs did not climb to the top of the NFL by accident. And if you dig a little deeper, there is a strategy at play.

For starters, as astronomical as the total salary of Mahomes, the huge payments are not immediate. Mahomes has a hoodie worth around $ 5.4 million for the next 2020 season, making him arguably the most underpaid player in the league. In 2021, that ceiling hit balloons at $ 24.8 million – certainly a big leap, but still less than it is worth.

It is only in 2022 and beyond that the Mahomes cap could prove to be binding for the maintenance of a team vying for the championship.

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Jones’ contract, on the other hand, is structured in almost the opposite way. According to Over The Cap, all guaranteed money is paid in the first two years of the contract, which means Kansas City could theoretically cut Jones after the 2021 season and incur no financial penalties.

By structuring the contracts of Mahomes and Jones as they did, the chiefs succeeded in undoubtedly rewarding their two best players and maintaining their status at the top of the league in the immediate future, while offering the team a some financial flexibility across the board. Even star defensive end Frank Clark has no guaranteed money beyond the 2021 season.

Now the chiefs plan is not without significant risk. If the salary cap drops significantly for 2021, they will likely have to make some tough decisions on the list, as they already have more than $ 200 million in liabilities for this season.

Therefore, two things are clear. First, chefs obviously count on the salary cap to increase upward in the near future. If not, Mahomes’ contract could prove prohibitive, even if it is good. And second, they will do everything for the 2020 season, likely with the goal of becoming the first consecutive Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

What can the 49ers get out of it? First and foremost, it pays to have people in place who know how to be creative with the cap. Paraag Marathe would certainly be qualified, so San Francisco is in good shape there.

In addition, it is essential to find key contributors to the project to fill a very heavy list. This is an area where chefs have had great success, and the 49ers have done well too.

Specifically, however, signing deals with George Kittle, Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, and other key players to contract extensions might not be as impossible as it seems. Depending on how the contracts are structured, they could theoretically be weighed against each other so as not to stack huge salary commitments on top of each other in a given season.

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Ultimately, it takes two for tango. Players must accept the contracts offered to them and their personal priorities do not necessarily correspond to those of the team. That said, it is clear that the tone was set in the chefs’ locker room. Many of their players, even stars like Mahomes and Jones, have made sacrifices in order to maintain what could remain as the most formidable roster in the league.

If the 49ers hope to do the same – and ultimately overshadow the Chiefs – it will likely take a similar combination of buy-in, creativity and risk to get there.



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