Saturday, August 6, 2022

How Patrick Mahomes ignited the NFL’s crazy WR market

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It’s good to be a Tory Dandy.

Dandy may not be a familiar name to most fans, but he’s significantly strengthened his reputation as a market maker and NFL powerbroker over the course of this offseason.

Look, Dandy is representing some of the best wide receivers in the league today, including the Philadelphia Eagles’ AJ Brown, Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel, who the San Francisco 49ers just pledged $71.55 million, 58.1 of them millions guaranteed. on July 31st.

Brown, Metcalf and Samuel have penned deals totaling $243.5 million since April, when the wide receiver market hit the financial stratospheres previously reserved for offensive tackles and cornerbacks in the positional hierarchy.

“More than ever, the NFL is a throwing and catching league,” said Heavy staffer and former NFL executive Randy Mueller says. “That plays a bigger role in value creation than anything else. Teams recognize that this is the best way to score points under current rules, so receivers are among the biggest beneficiaries.”

The cash train is nowhere near reaching the station, and its next stop could be a mega-renewal for receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown after the Arizona Cardinals took the 25-year-old from the Baltimore Ravens in a draft night blockbuster.

Brown’s agent?

You guessed it, CAA’s Tory Dandy.

Brown is exactly the prototype that teams want to invest top dollar in, especially in this brave new world of wide receiver.

Fresh from his first 1,000-yard season of 2021, the four-year veteran comes into Kliff Kingsbury’s air attack offense with a chance to be even more productive at the end of quarterback Kyler Murray’s downfield passes. Especially as Arizona’s top receiver until DeAndre Hopkins returns.

“As soon as DeAndre Hopkins gets well,” an NFL executive recently told Heavy. “Teams have to play individually [cover] Brown, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. He has great speed, great speed.”

Depending on Brown getting off to a fast start, the Cardinals could look to extend it throughout the season before the market moves up another notch next spring. A league source told Heavy he believes Brown could command $15 million to $18 million a season.

In addition to Dandy’s clients, the Las Vegas Raiders traded for Davante Adams, making him the highest-paid player at that position, Tyreek Hill signed a $120 million deal after being acquired by the Miami Dolphins, and the Washington Commanders paid Terry McLaurin $71 million.

These lucrative deals are the aftershocks of a tectonic shift felt in the league in March.

“The Jaguars and Christian Kirk broke the pay scale,” an NFL agent told Heavy. “And they did it early on in free agency, which defined the market.”

There are several coaches and executives in the league who believe Kirk may be on the cusp of becoming one of the more dynamic receivers in the game. Especially when Jaguars franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence is making huge strides this season.

However, there’s no reasonable argument that Kirk’s earlier production deserved its whopping $72 million extension.

Ultimately, the wide receiver market is evolving at a feverish pace, even beyond the ridiculous money being thrown at the position. Samuel, McLaurin and Metcalf all signed three-year deals, as opposed to the more traditional four-year deals that have been universally coveted in the past.

“It’s just about preserving their market value,” a second agent, who represents several top wide receivers, told Heavy on condition of anonymity to protect his clients’ interests. “I think a number of other agents learned from the Patrick Mahomes deal that less is actually more.”

Mahomes and the Chiefs agreed to a mammoth 12-year deal guaranteeing $141.8 million. Despite the staggering totals, it’s also a deal that could put the Chiefs star in the center of the field in his position in the second half.

It doesn’t sound like this trend will carry over to the receivers’ position any time soon, nor is there any sign of any kind of market correction.

“Not everyone has a team-first mentality like Patrick,” the agent explained. “The faster a player gets to a second or third contract while still at the peak of his career is far better for everyone. It boils down to trying to time the next market explosion while they are still in the prime of their careers.”

My training camp tour of the I-95 corridor begins Wednesday, August 3 — and while I’m in Tampa celebrating Tom Brady’s 45th birthday, I couldn’t be more excited to hit the streets and be back on the sidelines.

The first stops are some old spots, starting in the Jersey swamps at Giants camp, where I served as a beat reporter for three seasons, and where we’ll see Daniel Jones up close as the quarterback enters a crucial season on a defense , which is likely to be anchored by some young playmakers in secondary school.

Next, on August 6th, it’s back to the City of Brotherly Love where my career began and a look at a roster that could be on the verge of a Super Bowl run in the NFC after arguably General Manager Howie’s most prolific Roseman off-season to date. If Jalen Hurts can take the next step in his development with a significantly improved supporting cast, the Eagles have a chance to shock the world.

In the coming weeks, we’ll also be taking a look at the New York Jets, Washington Commanders, and maybe a few surprises along the way.

At each stop, look out for exercise videos, one-on-one interviews, and my observations from the exercises.

You can follow us on the Heavy team pages and on Twitter at @MattLombardoNFL.

See you on the street!

The Bills and reigning Super Bowl champion Rams kick off the 2022 NFL season on September 8 with just over six weeks of Thursday night football.

“The Jaguars and Christian Kirk broke the pay scale,” an NFL agent told Heavy. “And they did it early on in free agency, which defined the market.”

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