Patrick Mahomes knows Chiefs will ‘do right’ by him in contract talks as he gets back to work

At some point in the next six to 18 months, Patrick Mahomes is going to become the highest-paid player in NFL history. Though this is a statement about the future that cannot be fact-checked, it is delivered with the utmost certainty.

The deal is likely to reach at least $40 million per year. You can forget about Mahomes “resetting the market,” too. It’s going to be Mahomes at the top of the average annual salary list, then a sizable gap, and then everyone else.

So while Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt says the deal doesn’t have to happen any time soon, and while Chiefs general manager Brett Veach says the team “has a lot of time,” there’s nothing for the Super Bowl MVP to do but wait.

“Obviously I want to be in Kansas City for a long time with the organization that we have and the team that we have,” Mahomes told me by phone on Wednesday night. “I’ve always been a believer that if you treat people the right way and you do things the right way, that stuff kind of handles itself. I know that Kansas City will hopefully do right by me and I’ll do right by them of just going out there and handling myself on the field, and that that contract stuff will get done and I’m able to play in Kansas City for a long time.”

It’s believed Mahomes’ representation is in no rush to sign just any long-term deal until the terms of the next collective bargaining agreement are determined, and the cash-strapped Chiefs should rightly be focused on their own impending free agents in the coming weeks.

I asked Mahomes if it’s a goal of his to get something done before the start of Week 1 in what will be his fourth NFL season.

“I think it’s something that will handle itself when it handles itself,” he said. “You want to get contracts done so you don’t have to talk about it and don’t have to worry about it. That’s a goal of yours when you’re going into the NFL — getting to your next contract and win a lot of football games doing it.

“I’m in a great organization that handles people the right way. I’ve seen that firsthand and I know that it will get done when it needs to get done and I’ll be a Kansas City Chief for a long time.”

Mahomes and I are speaking by phone as part of a press tour for Essentia Water, an ionized, high-pH drinking water the quarterback has been a sponsor of for nearly a year. We spent most of the conversation discussing where he’s at physically after two injuries sprinkled into the longest season of his football career that culminated in the 31-20 Super Bowl LIV victory against the 49ers.

By the looks of it on social media, I believed Mahomes had been living it up the past month, and deservedly so. The youngest quarterback in NFL history to earn the AP’s MVP award and win a Super Bowl can take a few weeks and go to Disney World, the NBA All-Star Game, a Post Malone concert and the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder fight. But Mahomes said he took just one week off after the Super Bowl before getting back into the gym while saving his fun for the weekends.

Only once has Mahomes done any on-field work since the Super Bowl, and that came when he worked out with free-agent receiver Dez Bryant last month. Otherwise, he’s been in the gym with his longtime trainer, Bobby Stroupe, building his body back up the past three weeks.

“Those first two weeks were kind of all injury prevention and getting your body back where it needs to be at and building that stuff to prepare yourself,” Mahomes said. “That was the big part of the first two weeks of me having off time but also getting in the gym and moving around and keeping your body fresh. And now I’m getting back after it now and kind of building.”

With the benefit of two bye weeks in January — first with the first-round playoff bye and then the week off leading up to the Super Bowl — Mahomes said he felt the healthiest he had been all year at the end of the season. He suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and played through it, then re-aggravated it in October. And while he was trying to play through that, he dislocated his kneecap and missed two games.

Veach and head coach Andy Reid confirmed at the combine Mahomes would not need offseason surgery on his knee, and the quarterback dove into that decision more with me.

“All of [the doctors] believed that surgery wasn’t needed and that it was all healing the right way and everything looked good,” Mahomes said. “So I went with their opinions. They’re some of the world’s best doctors for a reason and they’ve seen this injury before. They all believed I didn’t need surgery and that it would kind of heal on its own so long as I kept rehabbing and doing the things I did throughout the season.”

Mahomes has been getting up early in the mornings to get his workouts in and keep his afternoons open for golf. When I sat down with him at his 2018 training camp, he told me he was a 12-or-so-handicap golfer. He said he’s now down to a 6-handicap with some offseason trips planned.

But soon his schedule will get busier. His quarterback coaches Jeff and Jake Christensen are coming to Texas within the next two weeks to get him started with on-field work. First they’ll work on the footwork and short throws before Mahomes builds into his deeper drops and throws.

The idea here is to recreate the foundation and get back to the basics for one of the most electrifying quarterbacks the league has ever seen.

“I’ve always been a big believer in when you first get back, going through the fundamentals. I think that’s something I lose sometimes during seasons and something I have to work on during the season,” a self-aware Mahomes said. “Obviously how I play, I play with a creativity with running around and throwing it with different arm angles. But I always believe it comes from the fundamentals. That’s the first thing I always work on, and then I work on my feet and try to make sure that my pocket presence is where it needs to be at. And I think if I can do that, all the creative stuff kind of comes with it.”

The ultimate goal, obviously, is to become the first repeat Super Bowl champions since the 2003-04 Patriots. But I asked Mahomes if he has any personal goals beyond that. Perhaps becoming a two-time MVP, as well?

“I don’t, and that’s not how I was in my first year when I did get the MVP award,” he said. “To me it’s all about winning. If you can go out there and win football games, you prepare yourself the right way, that stuff handles itself. That’s stuff that I truly believe you can’t really shoot for.”

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