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How Do NFL Contracts Actually Work?

Danny Heifetz breaks down how NFL salaries really work, navigating all the intricacies from guarantee mechanisms to non-guaranteed buckets

Last summer, Patrick Mahomes signed a record-breaking $503 million contract to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs. But how much of that money will he actually make? NFL contracts are notoriously convoluted, with few similarities to their NBA and MLB counterparts. NFL players rarely play the amount of years on their contract, and the amount of money listed in their contract is more often than not a guideline rather than a sure thing. So why does it work this way? The Ringer’s Danny Heifetz breaks down how NFL salaries actually work, navigating all the intricacies from guarantee mechanisms to non-guaranteed buckets.