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Kay Adams Uses Patrick Mahomes & Chiefs as Case Study to Detail Why NFL Teams’ Windows are Closing Up

Ayush Juneja

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As QBs commanded the top-billing, it’s now the receiver’s turn to blow up the market. With NFL Cap Space continuing to increase exponentially, so does the compensation for the key positions, except for the Running Backs. With QBs and WRs making up a chunk of that cap, teams find themselves unable to shy away from investing heavily in these pivotal positions if they want to succeed.

Kay Adams laid out three points during the recent episode of the Up&Adams show where she asserted that we might see a change in this trend of overpaying WRs because of what the Chiefs and the Packers have done in the recent year.

Both Kansas City and Green Bay let go of their star wideouts, Tyreek Hill and DeVante Adams rather than extending them and paying them lucratively. While many expected them to struggle, something opposite happened as the Chiefs won 2 Lombardy Trophies and the Packers have been constantly overperforming in the playoffs.

They were able to churn out success because of their ability to spend the draft capital wisely, which they got from trading those stars which allowed them to fill the holes in their squad, and rather than relying on one weapon, they got multiple pieces and made winning rosters.

Kay stated that another reason for their continued success is the talent pool of receivers coming from college in the last few seasons. Most of the wideouts fit in immediately and produce numbers enough to succeed. And third point she made was that nine out of ten teams that reached the Super Bowl either had a QB on a rookie contract or a receiver on a rookie contract. It shows that it is hard to pay both and succeed.


Adams asserts it is because teams can hardly pay both their QB and the WR, the window of opportunity to succeed is coming close for the Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, and Dolphins as most of these teams have to either pay a shot-caller or a wideout. Both Buffalo and Cincinnati gave their QBs over $250 million contracts. Miami is paying Hill $30 million annually and now it is Tua’s turn to get paid and Dallas has to pay both next year.

The last ten teams to appear in the Super Bowl, both winners and losers have had either a rookie QB or WR or both, and most teams haven’t been back since.

The Picture Painted by the Last 10 Super Bowls

The Chiefs and the 49ers played in the 2024 SB. Mahomes is one of the highest-paid QBs, his main WR was rookie Rashee Rice. Purdy who will be getting paid soon is still on the rookie contract but Deebo got paid more than $20 million in 2022. The Chiefs who were winners in 2022 too, had neither a rookie QB nor WR but were paying JuJu Smith only $10.5 million. Their opponent Eagles had Jalen Hurts on a rookie deal and his receiver, AJ Brown is getting a $25 million contract.

The 2021 Super Bowl clash between the Rams and the Bengals pitted rookie QB Joe Burrow and his receiver rookie Chase against $40 million QB Stafford and his rookie receiver Kupp. The Rams are now paying both Kupp and Stafford more than $25 million and haven’t been to the Super Bowl since. Cincinnati made Burrow the highest-paid QB last season and would now have to pay Chase nearly $30 million next season.

2020 was Brady and Buccaneer’s year as they defeated the Chiefs led by QB Mahomes who was still on the rookie deal while Tyreek Hill was being paid moderately. Though Brady and Evans weren’t rookies, they weren’t getting the highest salaries. The 2019 Super Bowl was a repeat of the 2023-24 edition. Kansas City won after 50 years courtesy of their rookie Mahomes and Hill. The 49ers were led by Garoppollo and rookie deal receiver Deebo Samuel.

Only the 49ers and the Chiefs have been the only teams who have made repeat trips and only Kansas City has been able to win after more than once. Mahomes hasn’t had a 1000-yard receiver since the departure of Hill but managed to get the job done because of his prowess and their defense. San Francisco had to wait for a rookie QB to get there again. Their window is also closing as Aiyuk and Purdy both will be paid next year.

The Chief’s way shows there is more than one way to skin a cat. One approach doesn’t have to work for everyone. Football is a team sport and no one player can be a factor in winning or losing. Continuous success requires squad rebuild and putting all your eggs in one basket, cannot be successful every time.

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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