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  • Ben Drain

Why the Chiefs' Front Office Should Have Been Named Super Bowl MVP

This past Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes took home the Super Bowl MVP for his great play coming back from a 10-point 4th quarter deficit against one of the best defenses in the league. This accomplishment may not even be the greatest achievement of the game. When looking at the composition of each team, an interesting fact emerges. The 49ers had the highest Total Cap in the entire league, whereas the Chiefs had the lowest Total Cap in the NFL. Total Cap takes into account the money spent on active players, reserve players, and any dead cap space. The 49ers spent nearly $60 million more on their players than the Chiefs did, which is even more notable when compared to the 2019 Salary Cap of $188.2 million, of which the 49ers are well in excess. Despite this gulf in spending, the Chiefs were able to outlast the 49ers not only on the field but also in savvy scouting and effective front office leadership.

The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl while spending the least amount of money on their players, a testament to their scouting of young, promising players who are playing under below-market value contracts, namely Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes, now a regular season MVP and a Super Bowl MVP, will surely set the benchmark for the highest NFL contract in history when he signs a long-term deal in the coming years. In comparison, the 49ers’ quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, has already signed a massive, long-term contract, taking up a significant chunk of the 49ers’ available funds. All teams with franchise quarterbacks face a balancing act between the massive contract afforded to quarterbacks and the surrounding pieces of talent accompanying them. The Chiefs’ ability to identify the talent in Mahomes and to capitalize on his skills while he is still on his cheap rookie contract, is one of the reasons they were able to diversify their cap spending and win the Super Bowl.

Looking forward, Mahomes will definitely become the highest-paid NFL player in history, but I don’t see this as a hindrance to their future successes. The organization has shown in this season that they can create a talented roster without breaking the bank. Many of the stars in Kansas City were drafted by the organization, demonstrating the ability to identify talent that surely won’t disappear any time soon, providing a constant integration of cheap, high-quality talent. Additionally, assuming Mahomes may get a contract in the region of $35-40 million per year, that increase in the Chiefs’ spending still doesn’t close the $60 million gap between them and the 49ers. It’s not a hot take to say that the Chiefs will be good for years to come on the shoulders of Patrick Mahomes; however, if the Chiefs continue their shrewd investment in players, great coaching, and excellent scouting of prospects, the future may not need to be fully supported by Mahomes’ talent.

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