Sports

Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes fine with no longer being highest-paid QB

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — From the day in 2020 when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed his 10-year, $450 million contract extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player in terms of average salary, he knew the distinction wouldn’t last forever.

Sure enough, contracts signed this year by Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson dropped him to fourth on the list. Mahomes said that in addition to anticipating this development, he’s OK with it.

“When I signed my deal, I knew I was going to be set for life regardless of how the market [went],” Mahomes said Friday as he reported for Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University. “You just keep playing. Money is one thing but when you get those Super Bowl rings at the end of your career, I think that’s going to be the thing that you look back on. I think I’ve made enough money on the football field and off of it as well that it won’t matter at the end of the day.

“Especially at the quarterback position, the next guy is the highest-paid guy. Any of these top-tier quarterbacks, they make such a difference on NFL football teams that [older contracts are] going to get passed up.”

Mahomes said he is expecting the $45 million average salary from his extension to sink even further in the rankings once quarterbacks such as Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson sign extensions with their teams.

“They’ll keep setting the bar even higher,” Mahomes said. “You always want to get paid and take care of your family, but I want a great team around me as well.”

The Chiefs on Saturday begins a three-day camp for quarterbacks and rookies. Other veterans report Monday and full-squad training camp starts on Wednesday.

The Chiefs will likely open training camp without their unsigned franchise player, left tackle Orlando Brown. The Chiefs and Brown failed to agree to terms on a multiyear contract by last week’s deadline, so his only option for playing with the team this season is to accept a one-year, $16.6 million contract offer.

“I talk to Orlando all the time,” Mahomes said. “Me and him have a great relationship. Obviously we wanted to get the deal done, I’m sure he wanted to get the deal done. … I’m excited for him to be here and be a part of the team again.

“When he wasn’t at [offseason practice] he was asking me questions. He was watching film, he was doing everything so when he [returns] he’s ready to go … Obviously it didn’t work out for him this offseason the way that he wanted it to, but whenever he gets here I’m sure he will be ready to go and he’ll go out there and show what caliber of player he is again.”

Mahomes said he was unsure of Brown’s plans for training camp.

“You want him to be here just because the guy he is and he’s a leader on this football team,” Mahomes said. “But at the same time when he comes to money and contracts and stuff like that, I never force anyone to do anything because I know they’re trying to provide for their family long-term. But as a teammate and as a friend, you want him to be a part of this.”

The Chiefs have several candidates to replace Brown, though none are as accomplished at left tackle. Coach Andy Reid suggests the Chiefs would look at left guard Joe Thuney, who filled in well at left tackle in one game last season in place of the injured Brown.

“We know Joe Thuney can do it in a heartbeat,” Reid said. “If we need to go that direction, we’ll go that direction.”

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