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When the Chiefs signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a record-breaking 10-year extension earlier this week, their goal was clear: Win as many championships as possible behind the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
But just how many can they win during that time? Mahomes is now secured for 12 seasons, and only one team (Patriots) has notched more than two Super Bowls victories in a 13-year span since the 49ers and Cowboys dominated the 90s.
Oddsmakers think the Chiefs are next in line, pricing them as favorites to collect two more Lombardi trophies by 2031:
|How many Super Bowls will Chiefs win from 2020-21 to 2031-32?||Titles|
That timeline, of course, lines up with the expected end date of Mahomes' megadeal, which both keeps the 2018 MVP in Kansas City for over a decade, and makes it tough for the team to build around him.
Let's start with the positives: Mahomes is the league's most valuable player, and he's worth every dollar of his extension.
He's recorded the highest win percentage (77.8%) of any quarterback in NFL history (minimum 30 starts), and the Chiefs could have won back-to-back Super Bowls in his two years as a starter if not for an interception-erasing offside penalty in the 2018 AFC Championship Game.
If the Chiefs fail to win multiple Super Bowls over the next 12 years, though, Mahomes' play likely won't be to blame. Instead, point the finger at his contract.
In the first 28 years of the Super Bowl from 1966 to 1993, six teams repeated as champions. In the 26 years since the introduction of the salary cap (1994), that's only happened twice, and not since 2003-04. And since 1995, no team has won the Super Bowl with a quarterback's cap hit occupying over 12% of the salary cap.
Mahomes' 2020 salary is still well below that percentage, but his expected 2021 cap hit is $24.8 million, which would be 12.5% of the cap if it remains stagnant. Realistically, the 2021 cap could drop by $40-80 million due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Mahomes' own cap charge steadily climbs to $42.5 million in 2023 and almost $60 million by 2027.
There's a reason no team has won with a high-priced quarterback. Clubs with cheap QBs can afford to acquire impact players and extend stars before they hit free agency. Once Mahomes' extension kicks in, both will be difficult for Kansas City.
Take Chris Jones, for example. The defensive tackle was arguably the most important player outside of Mahomes during the team's Super Bowl win, and he's threatening to skip this season if the 26-year-old doesn't get a lucrative extension. Tyreek Hill, the key weapon for Mahomes' cannon arm, is owed $54.3 million over the next three seasons, and he could be a cap casualty in 2021. Travis Kelce hits the market a year later.
When you start stripping away the pieces that helped Kansas City win four straight division titles, what's left aside from Mahomes? Even the best quarterbacks of all time needed help, and if the Chiefs find core talent in the draft - as they did in 2019 with safety Juan Thornhill - the bill comes due in four years.
Kansas City's best chance to win again is this season, when it enters the year with 4-1 title odds at theScore Bet and a cheap cap charge for Mahomes. But as we outlined in the team's win total preview, the squad still faces major defensive questions, which will be harder to answer as the budget gets tighter.
It's no fun to bet the under on a 12-year prop, but the smart money lies in fading the Chiefs and their newly paid QB.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.