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What would Josh Allen have to do to earn a $500 million contract?

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

On Monday, it was reported that the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes had agreed on a massive contract worth up to $503 million over the course of a decade. Naturally, that got Buffalo Bills fans thinking about their young quarterback. It’s time to slow that roll.

There’s a reason this is the richest contract in North American sports history. Mahomes is a freak. Only a handful of players in NFL history have ever earned contracts of this level of magnitude. Here are some pertinent benchmarks for each player from BEFORE they signed their ten-year deals:

Drew Bledsoe
10 years, $103 million in 2001

Three Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl appearance, one All-Pro second team, led the league in passing once

Brett Favre
10 years, $100 million in 2001

Three-time NFL MVP, three-time All-Pro first team, six Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl win, led the league in passing twice and passing TDs three times

Donovan McNabb
12 years, $115 million in 2002

Second in MVP voting once, Two Pro Bowls, one NFC Championship game appearance

Daunte Culpepper
10 years, $102 million in 2003

One All-Pro first team, one Pro Bowl, one NFC Championship game appearance, NFL passing TDs leader in 2000

Mike Vick
10 years, $130 million in 2005

Two Pro Bowls

Patrick Mahomes
10 years, $503 million in 2020

One NFL MVP award, one Super Bowl win & MVP, one All-Pro first team, two Pro Bowls, led league in passing touchdowns once

“What would Josh Allen have to do to sign a $500-million deal in the near future?”

It’s pretty simple, really. Have an MVP-type season where you break a bunch of records then do it again while winning some playoffs games. Easy.

Allen has zero of the accolades of the players on this list. No Pro Bowls. No playoff wins (not that wins are a QB stat, but still).

He can start down the path in 2020, but it’s a long hike. In 2019, Ryan Tannehill made the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the Super Bowl-bound Mahomes and made a run to the AFC Championship game. That doesn’t mean Tannehill is the next ten-year contract player, but for a player like Allen who is still with his first NFL team and offensive coordinator and head coach and general manager with his rookie contract window available to make another run in 2021, you can see the possibilities beyond those first steps. If Allen takes the next step as a player and the Bills make a run to the AFC Championship game in 2020 and he earns a Pro Bowl nod, he’d be on his way to a pretty rich contract.

Then in 2021, he would need to put together another great year and be in the MVP conversation for one or two of those seasons. Even then, I doubt we’d be talking about a ten-year deal, but we would be talking about a multi-year hefty contract worth north of $30 million per season.

Looking more directly at the Mahomes/Allen comparison, Mahomes has more than 9000 passing yards over the last two years. Allen has 5163. If he replicates his best season of 3089 passing yards, he wouldn’t be close to Mahomes despite playing one season more than the dynamic passer. Mahomes had more passing TDs in his 2018 season (50) than Allen has combined rushing and receiving (47) in two seasons.

It really comes down to this; the two aren’t in the same ballpark so it’s best not to compare them. It’s really unlikely that Allen ever signs a contract comparable to Mahomes.