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The Opinionated 7-Footers: Patrick Mahomes’ historic 10-year contract extension with the Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have played with the salary cap limit on quite a few occasions this offseason — they only had $171 in cap space at one point — but were able to create much-needed room thanks to wide receiver Sammy Watkins taking a pay cut.

Watkins was an easy candidate to be cut from the Chiefs as he had a base salary of $13.7 million in 2020, which resulted in a $21 million cap hit in the final year of a three-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2018. He even considered retirement before deciding to return to Kansas City on a revised deal with a significantly reduced salary. 

It was a simple sacrifice to win another Super Bowl title with a franchise he enjoys playing with. 

“I think I’ve made enough money,” Watkins said to Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “I mean … I love more money, but as far as being smart and educated on this team, knowing that you gotta pay Pat (Mahomes), you gotta pay Chris (Jones), you got a lot of guys you gotta pay. For me to take a contract like I did was a blessing.

“Really just showing the world it’s not all about money. This is my happy place. Why not take a smaller contract and come out and play with the guys I’ve been playing with?”

Watkins signed a revised contract to stay in Kansas City for one year, earning $7 million in base salary and freeing up $5 million in cap space for the Chiefs. His sacrifice propelled Kansas City to work out an extension for Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones while keeping the wide receiver core of Watkins, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson intact. This isn’t even including All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. 

The Chiefs are all set to repeat as Super Bowl champions, all because of Watkins agreeing to take a pay cut — apparently an easy decision for him to make. 

“To have someone of his caliber who really goes out there and plays well every single week,” Mahomes said. “He does so many things well — obviously he catches the ball well; he scores for us; he makes a lot of plays after contact.

“But also as far as blocking or running the routes hard and getting the other guys open. In this offense, it takes every single person. And I think you saw that when in the playoffs and his number got called, he made big plays happen. It’s a guy we love having back.”


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