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 accolade 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 is OK with it.
“When I signed my deal, I knew I was going to be set for life no matter what the market was like [went],” Mahomes said Friday when 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 you look back on. I think I’ve made enough money on the football field and beyond that also that it doesn’t matter at the end of the day.
“Especially at the quarterback position, the next guy is the highest-paid guy. Any one of those top-tier quarterbacks makes such a difference on NFL football teams that [older contracts are] is going to be passed over.”
Mahomes said he expects the $45 million average salary from his extension to drop even further in the rankings when quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson sign extensions with their teams.
“They will continue to set 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 begin a three-day camp for quarterbacks and rookies. Other veterans report on Monday and training camp for the whole team starts on Wednesday.
The Chiefs will likely open training camp without their unsigned franchise player, left tackle Orlando Brown. The Chiefs and Brown were unable to agree on a multi-year contract by last week’s deadline, so his only option to play 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 good 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 part of the team again .
“When he wasn’t at [offseason practice] he asked me questions. He watched movies, he did everything then he [returns] he’s ready to go … Obviously it hasn’t worked out for him this offseason the way he wanted it to, but when he gets here I’m sure he’ll be ready to go and he’ll go out there and show what caliber player is he again.”
Mahomes said he was unsure of Brown’s plans for training camp.
“You want him to be here just because of the guy that he is and he’s a leader on this football team,” Mahomes said. “But at the same time when it comes to money and contracts and things like that, I never force anybody 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 must be part of this.”
The Chiefs have several candidates to replace Brown, although none are as skilled at left tackle. Coach Andy Reid suggested 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.”