Our collective jaws dropped this summer when the Chiefs signed reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes to the largest contract in professional sports history. Five-hundred-three million over 10 years doesn’t exactly scream “hometown discount,” but Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who faces Mahomes on Monday Night Football this week, thinks the gunslinging 25-year-old is worth every penny.
“They could have paid him a billion,” said Martindale, apparently a staunch proponent of free-market capitalism. “I’d still think he’s underpaid.”
Hyperbole aside, Martindale is correct in his assessment that Mahomes (who, if you recall, topped our RADIO.COM preseason player rankings this summer) is the most valuable player in football. The fourth-year quarterback was unusually erratic in last week’s win over the Chargers (which required a walk-off, 58-yard field goal from Harrison Butker with 1:55 remaining in overtime) but blew the lid off in his last encounter with Baltimore in 2019, shredding the Ravens’ secondary for 374 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 3 triumph. That game was staged at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, where Mahomes has lost just four times in his career (playoffs included). The Ravens are hosting this time around with Monday’s rematch being held at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
“The mobile-type quarterbacks, you have to defend the first play, the second play and sometimes the third play,” Martindale told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “With the way he throws the football, you have to stay on your coverage no matter what. He can be on one side of the field and throw all the way across the other."
No stranger to the big stage, many of Mahomes’ signature moments have occurred on MNF including a 476-yard, six-touchdown eruption against the Rams in 2018 and a fourth-quarter comeback (keyed by an improvised, left-handed, first-down conversion) to stun the Broncos at Mile High. Despite Mahomes’ impressive body of work and affinity for Monday night heroics, FanDuel Sportsbook still has the high-powered Ravens, fresh off victories over Houston and Cleveland, pegged as slight, 3.5-point home favorites.