Now that former Texas Tech football product Patrick Mahomes has led his Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl LIV title, let’s look back at the laughable things scouts said about him when he entered the draft.
Just a week after the sports world lost a legendary icon in former NBA great Kobe Bryant, we saw perhaps the birth of the next great American transcendent athlete when Pat Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl LIV title. After winning the 2018 NFL MVP, the Texas Tech football program’s greatest export has now become the youngest Super Bowl MVP in history and as the brightest star in this nation’s most popular sport, he’s set to be the face of football for the next decade.
Indeed, the 24-year-old has this world by the gonads these days and there’s no reason to think he will relinquish that hold anytime soon. In fact, many are expecting him to become the sport’s first $200 million player this offseason.
That thought began to surface after last season, his first as a starter, and now that he’s led one of the NFL’s most iconic franchises to the top of the mountain to end Kansas City’s 50-year title drought, the sentiment has only gained steam being that he is eligible for an extension after having completed three years in the league.
“That’s [contract extension talks] stuff that’s handled with other people,” Mahomes said at the Super Bowl LIV winning team news conference at the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel. “Obviously, I want to be in Kansas City for a long time.”
In 2019, the eleven highest-paid players in the NFL were quarterbacks and some of the names on the list seem laughable when compared to Mahomes. Atop the list was Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks who made $35 million this year.
Ben Roethlisberger was second at $34 million. Given that he played in just two games this year, it’s tough to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers got their money’s worth in 2019.
No. 3 was Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. The future Hall of Famer earned $33.5 million while leading his team to the NFC Championship Game.
Also earning $33.5 million was Jared Goff. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl a season ago but failed to take his team back to the playoffs this fall.
Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles has missed significant time to injury during his career. Still, he earned $32 million this season.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garappolo, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Oakland’s Derek Carr, and New Orlean’s Drew Brees round out the top 11 with all making at least $25 million in 2019. Mahomes will likely blow the doors off of that.
If he signs for five years (a typical length of an NFL contract) and $200 million, he would be making $40 million per year. He’s also going to set a record for the most guaranteed money in NFL history, a mark currently held by Goff and the $110 million he was guaranteed by his last deal.
But while it seems like breaking the back will be a guarantee for the new face of the NFL, there was a time when Mahomes was considered by many so-called experts to be a risky investment or a project with a “high ceiling” but a “low floor” as well. Certainly, predicting how any player will pan out is a shot in the dark.
There were those that thought Ryan Leaf would be a better QB than Peyton Manning back in the 1998 NFL Draft. Who could forget the fact that JaMarcus Russell was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Draft or that Tom Brady wasn’t taken until the 199th pick of the 2000 Draft?
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In other words, we can’t slaughter those individuals that thought Mahomes was a huge gamble in 2017. But given the 20-20 hindsight we have now, it’s rather comical to look at what many of the national pundits thought about Mahomes just three years ago. So let’s look at some of the more humorous takes that people had on the player who is now the best player in the NFL, if not all of American sports.