Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs agreed to a restructured contract that will pay him $210.6 million between the 2023 season and 2026 season, according to ESPN. That deal moves Mahomes up the ladder among top paid quarterbacks, as he slots into the No. 2 position behind Joe Burrow, who signed a massive deal earlier this month.
Burrow claimed the fleeting crown of highest-paid player in NFL history. Bengals fans are right to be elated, considering Burrow is now locked up through 2029 and has already taken Cincinnati to two AFC title games. But with big money comes even bigger expectations.
Speaking of which, the top of the QB earnings chart is chock-full of veterans looking to live up to their salaries. More than any other position, QB is unsurprisingly bound to be overcompensated, with teams desperate to find and retain competence under center -- or else risk a total reset. But a surface-level look at the track record of today's top 10 highest-paid QBs just reiterates it:
Note: APY denotes average per-year earnings. Other statistics are career marks.
Of the 10, only three (or 30%) have won a single Super Bowl, and only four (40%) have won a conference title. Yes, it's hard to do those things, especially in a team sport with so many year-to-year variables. But the fact that a healthy majority of the NFL's best-compensated QBs haven't even tasted a Super Bowl speaks to the amount of value given to upside and future outlook.
Consider that only two of the QBs here are over 30. Those two -- Aaron Rodgers (39) and Russell Wilson (34) -- basically exist in a space of their own, owning 170+ starts and Super Bowl victories while looking to rejuvenate their careers on new (or relatively new) teams in 2023. Rodgers and Wilson have already established their legacies; the rest of the group, sans Patrick Mahomes, is very much still in the process of leaving a lasting imprint. It is proof that teams pay just as much for potential as production.
Of course, the top of the list could prove to be bargains, especially when you consider Burrow already boasts something of a Mahomes trajectory in terms of early postseason results. But right now, Mahomes is the obvious unicorn of the bunch, offering a Hall of Fame-caliber track record while remaining in his prime. The fact he leads almost all the basic categories -- win percentage, playoff record, Super Bowl wins -- is an almost painfully obvious reminder that, for as long as he's his normal self, he'll register as impossibly underpaid relative to his peers.