Chiefs lock up Patrick Mahomes: Here are eight QBs who could be next up for lucrative contracts


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Patrick Mahomes made history on Monday by landing a 10-year, $477 million extension worth up to $503 million that instantly gives him the biggest total contract in NFL history and easily makes him the highest-paid quarterback entering the 2020 season. In addition to the length and total value of the contract, Mahomes’ contract also includes a $141.48 million injury guarantee, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. As is often the case in the NFL, though, big deals typically beget more big deals. And while no other signal-caller is likely to eclipse Mahomes’ annual salary — or total earnings — anytime soon, there are a handful of QBs who could follow in the Kansas City Chiefs star’s footsteps with a lucrative extension of their own.

With Mahomes locked up in K.C., here’s a look at eight other QBs who could be next up for big-money extensions:

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Contract expires: 2021

No one is more likely to get paid — and handsomely — in the next year or two than Prescott, who’s signed his 2020 franchise tag for just over $31 million and is bound to rake in close to $40 million in 2021 regardless of whether he’s on another tag, locked up for the long haul or somehow playing elsewhere. He and the Cowboys both want to strike a lucrative deal; it’s just a matter of which side will compromise first, or a matter of Prescott taking a page out of Kirk Cousins’ playbook and milking Dallas on the tag through 2021. Barring a ridiculous decline in production, he’s due to become one of the highest-paid QBs. Asked how Prescott’s demands could shift in the wake of Mahomes’ deal, one league source acknowledged Dak could easily hold out for close to $40M per year.

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Contract expires: 2022

The Texans don’t necessarily have to rush to pay Watson, who can still be tagged after 2022, and they may have an extra incentive to wait considering the uncertainty of 2021’s salary cap. But it’s clear they want him around for the long haul, and they’ll have to pay big bucks to make that happen — perhaps as much as $40-50M per season, an annual total that would rival even that of Mahomes, at least early on. If Bill O’Brien’s stint as both coach and general manager unravels in the next year or two, the negotiations could be even more complicated, especially if team management doubles down on its commitment to O’Brien, whose trade of star receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason reportedly disturbed the Pro Bowl QB.

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Contract expires: 2022

Jackson falls in the same camp as Watson in that he’s under team control for at least another two years, and then Baltimore can also exercise a fifth-year option to keep the reigning MVP in 2022. The sooner the Ravens lock him up, though, the more money they’ll probably save, considering Jackson’s trajectory looks nearly as promising as that of Mahomes. Does anyone really think John Harbaugh and Co. are afraid to sign off on their young phenom until he wins a playoff game? The bigger concern, from an organizational standpoint, might be durability considering how often the Ravens ask Jackson to run the ball in the open field. Financially speaking, he’s as sure a bet to become one of the highest-paid QBs as Watson and Prescott.

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Contract expires: 2022

The 2020 season will probably go a long way in swaying Buffalo to commit long term (or not), because that’s also when the Bills will approach their decision on Allen’s fifth-year option. The mobile gunslinger’s 2019 growth is promising, though, and Sean McDermott’s willingness to stick through Allen’s peculiarities — and then build around him with weapons like Stefon Diggs — suggests this team is truly invested in the former first-rounder. The bet here is that Allen will, in fact, eventually get big bucks to stick around in Buffalo.

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Contract expires: 2021

The Patriots aren’t going to be in a rush to fill Newton’s pockets after reportedly balking at his early-offseason contract demands and then finding a way to add his MVP resume for less than $8M in 2020. But regardless of whether Cam is in New England or elsewhere in 2021, he’s the most likely veteran “tryout” to parlay a one-year deal into one last lucrative extension. The Pats aren’t exactly loaded offensively, but is it crazy to think Newton could be back in the playoffs this year? Not really. And if guys like Nick Foles and Case Keenum and Chase Daniel can get sizable deals as competition/backups, he could easily rekindle interest on the 2021 market.

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Contract expires: 2021

Just because this Swiss Army knife thinks he’s a future franchise QB doesn’t mean he is one. But this is the NFL, where teams are often all too willing to dish out big money for potential under center. Maybe he sticks around in New Orleans, where Sean Payton has talked him up and used him effectively. Maybe he gets a shot to start somewhere with an unexpected opening in 2021. Either way, especially considering his steep 2020 salary as a role player, he remains a candidate to get a lucrative offer based on upside.

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Contract expires: 2022

New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has yet to see Mayfield operate his offense, but it’s going to be hard for the former No. 1 overall pick not to rebound after a forgettable 2019 under Freddie Kitchens. He’s not a lock for a long-term, market-shaking deal like some of his fellow 2018 first-rounders, but even one impressive season with Stefanski and a stocked-up Cleveland offense would likely be enough for Browns brass to invest in his continued growth.

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Contract expires: 2022

Darnold is pretty much in the same camp as Mayfield, except with maybe slightly less security, only because of the apparent volatility of New York’s current leadership setup, with coach Adam Gase likely on the hot seat early in 2020. Availability hasn’t been the former first-rounder’s strongest suit so far, and his on-field production has been inconsistent, but one or two promising stretches over the next year or so would make it hard for the Jets to pass up on his potential.





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