Patrick Mahomes (KC, 27)

Mahomes completed Year 3 of his 12 year, $477M contract this season, earning $29.45M for his efforts. It seems extremely likely that he’ll add another $1.25M with his 2nd NFL MVP award soon, and there’s another $1.25M to be added with a victory against the Bengals in the AFC Championship game.

The bulky portion of Mahomes’ contract kicks in next season, where he’s set to earn $40.5M on a $46.7M cap figure (3rd highest in the league). There’s a massive $34.4M roster bonus that can be converted to signing bonus, freeing up $27.5M of cap space for the Chiefs, who enter February with about $12M of Top 51 room (though reserve/future contracts have yet to be signed).

The Mahomes deal has an early vesting guarantee all the way through 2031. All of his 2023 & 2024 compensation is already fully guaranteed and another $38.9M from 2025 locks in this coming March 17th. It’s a truly unprecedented NFL contract. 


Joe Burrow (CIN, 26)

Burrow just finished Year 3 of his rookie contract, totaling $30M earned in his first three NFL seasons. He’s now extension-eligible for the first time, though his current deal still contains a fully guaranteed $5.5M next season, plus a 5th-year option in 2024.

The Bengals have no reason to wait around with his contract extension, as Burrow has answered every question from Day 1, immediately converting Cincinnati from a bit of a laughing stock, into annual contenders.

When evaluating his past two seasons against the likes of Mahomes, Allen, Murray, & Watson, Burrow calculates to a $44M price point. But there’s zero reason to believe that the Bengals won’t establish a contract that puts Burrow ahead of Aaron Rodgers’ $50.1M per year, and Kyler Murray’s $189.5M in total guarantees. Those are the benchmarks, and he’s earned them.


Jalen Hurts (PHI, 24)

Hurts just finished Year 3 of his 4 year, $6M rookie contract in Philly, meaning he’ll be entering a contract season in 2023. His base salary for next year has already been escalated to a projected $4M based on playing time/production, adding an additional $3M to his overall compensation, but it seems a moot point.

The Eagles are largely expected to extend their young QB1 this spring, who responded remarkably to the “all-in” roster that was quickly built around him for the 2022 campaign (66% completion rate, 246 pass yards per game, 22 TD/6 INT, 101.5 rating, 760 rush yards, 13 rush TDs).

Like Burrow, he also carries a $44M valuation into the offseason, despite a more versatile set of skills. Size, durability, and overall injury risk are red flags he’ll carry for the rest of his career, but putting a 4 year guarantee on him through his age 28 season hardly seems a risk not worth taking. Kyler Murray’s 5 year, $230.5M extension ($189.5M total guaranteed) in Arizona is a baseline for the Hurts negotiation this spring.


Brock Purdy (SF, 23)

Purdy just completed his rookie season that included a $77,000 signing bonus, and league minimum $705,000 base salary. He’ll earn the league minimum 2 years, $1.85M over the next two seasons before becoming extension-eligible after 2024.

None of us can see into the SF QB Glass Ball, but it seems at least possible that Purdy has earned himself the right to start the 2023 season as the Niners QB1. Unrevealed prospect Trey Lance still has 2 years, $9M (fully guaranteed) plus a 5th-year option in 2025 remaining on his rookie deal. If we remove the draft compensation given up to move up and select Lance, these numbers actually represent standard QB2 money in the league.

How will this all shake out? Completely undetermined. If the Niners are blown away by a trade offer for Lance, why wouldn’t they consider picking up additional draft compensation? If they remain committed to making Lance their QB1, they now have the ability to slow-play his recovery from serious injury, using Purdy as a long-term substitute in the meantime. Lance & Purdy are set to account for $10.1M against the SF cap next season - $44.8M less than what Deshaun Watson currently accounts for in Cleveland.