Patrick Mahomes’ landmark deal has changed the complexion of quarterback compensation in the NFL. That’s huge for Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
The massive contract Patrick Mahomes has earned from the Kansas City Chiefs is going to shape salaries in the NFL for years to come. It immediately becomes the deal all other quarterbacks will strive to rival.
Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa will immediately view the contract as something that is within their grasp if things break right in their respective careers.
The 10-year, $503 million extension doesn’t just break the NFL record for quarterback compensation. It shatters it. Every quarterback who has recently signed a contract is now kicking themselves for jumping the gun. That concern doesn’t apply to signal-callers who are only beginning their rookie-scale deals.
With all due respect to Justin Herbert, Burrow and Tagovailoa appear to be the two rookies with the best chance to follow Mahomes’ career path. Both stars were drafted by teams that are desperate to achieve some measure of NFL success. The Chiefs were hungry for a Super Bowl title. The Dolphins and Bengals are starving for a meaningful playoff run.
Burrow should be the Week 1 starter for a Cincinnati offense that has significant surrounding talent. The sheer brilliance of his final season at LSU makes it clear that he has an opportunity to achieve greatness at the professional level.
The odds are stacked heavily against any quarterback becoming the sort of star that Mahomes already is in Kansas City. If Burrow can lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl title during his rookie deal it may not matter what his individual statistics look like. Piloting the beleaguered Bengals to that sort of team success would earn Burrow a blank check.
The Dolphins had an All-Pro quarterback as recently as Dan Marino, but his individual brilliance didn’t bring a Super Bowl title to fans in South Florida. Unlike Burrow, Tagovailoa will likely have to wait for his turn under center in Miami.
He still has a strong chance to take Ryan Fitzpatrick’s job before the season gets to its midway point. The former Alabama star needs to prove that is body is sound to his team’s medical officials before that happens, but the franchise didn’t spend a first round pick to leave him on the bench for a full season.
Tagovailoa didn’t equal Burrow’s final collegiate season, but many people forget that he was widely considered to be the superior prospect before the 2019 season got underway. His elite accuracy and ability to read defenses at a rapid rate gives him a chance to experience early success with the Dolphins. The franchise will need several productive offseasons to give him enough talent to make a magical playoff run, but it’s not an impossible outcome.
Only generational quarterbacks are going to be able to take advantage of Mahomes resetting the market. Both Tagovailoa and Burrow need everything to go right for them to reach that sort of rarified air. Then again, no one really expected Mahomes to be this great. The pair of rookies both have a chance to take advantage of Mahomes’ financial windfall.